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California

Smoke-Free Public Housing
July 30, 2018

On July 1, 2018 the Regional Housing Authority (RHA) took a major step towards improving the health and safety of public housing residents by implementing the new federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Smoke-Free Public Housing rule.

This rule prohibits the use of lit tobacco products anywhere inside a HUD funded housing complex (with the exception of mixed financed properties). It includes individual units, common areas, administrative offices, and all areas within 25 feet of its buildings. RHA has expanded the Smoke-Free rule to include the use of electronic smoking devices, to further protect residents.

Sutter County Public Health applauds the decision to go smoke-free as it reduces the risk of exposure to secondhand smoke and smoke-related maintenance costs. HUD determined that the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke is by eliminating smoking indoors and close to buildings. In addition to protecting residents and employees from secondhand smoke, smoke-free policies create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking.

Smoke-free housing is good for everyone’s health. Both Public Housing Authority staff and residents will benefit from this rule, which includes more than 760,000 children and 329,000 senior residents nationwide. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of cancer and is also linked to breathing problems and heart disease in non-smokers. It can have serious health effects on non-smokers, especially children, older adults, and people with lung problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to get sick, cough, and wheeze. Other health issues caused by secondhand smoke in infants and children include asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some of the health conditions caused by secondhand smoke in adults include coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. According to researchers, the annual cost of smoking in Sutter County is estimated at more than $56 million, more than $30 million of that in direct health care costs (Max et al., 2014).

For more information on "Creating a Healthier Sutter" and adopting a voluntary policy for a Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Property call Sutter County Public Health Tobacco Control staff at (530) 822-7215. Residents are encouraged to attend Richland Housing’s ‘National Night Out’ Event from 5pm to 8pm on August 7th, 2018 to celebrate with us, learn more about Smoke-Free housing policies, and pick up a free tobacco cessation "quit kit."