Smoke-Free Housing Saves Lives and Money
Did you know, in the fall of 2017, fires from cigarettes caused over $3,000,000 in damage to housing property in Lincoln, according to Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR)? Smoking is a leading cause of residential fire in Lincoln according to LFR and the number one cause of fire deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. One proven step landlords and property owners can take to protect against fire is to establish a smoke-free housing policy.
Federal, State or local law does not prohibit property owner from establishing and enforcing a smoke-free policy for their buildings or grounds. Establishing a policy does not preclude someone who smokes from living in the building, it simply requires that all tenants abide by the policy while on the property. In 2018, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be implementing smoke-free policies in all of its public housing, including prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of residential buildings.
Many owners fear they will lose tenants if they implement a smoke-free policy. In Lancaster County, approximately 15% of citizens smoke and of those 15%, over half prefer smoke-free housing, according to the Adult Tobacco Survey. Owners and managers of multi-unit housing have found changing to a smoke-free policy reduces the secondhand smoke complaints, and requests for unit transfers also drop following establishment of a smoke-free policy.
In addition to the protection from smoking related fires, smoke-free policies can save money in reduced maintenance costs. The cost of rehabilitating a smoking unit can be nearly seven times that of rehabilitating a smoke-free unit. Some insurance companies offer discounts on property casualty insurance for multi-unit owners with a 100% smoke-free policy.
For more information on developing a smoke-free housing policy for your facility, or if you would like to serve on a smoke-free housing task force, please contact Christina Hitz at the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department at 402-441-6224 or email@example.com.
Large, white clouds of vapor are appearing in our community.
“Tobacco cigarettes have more than fifty years of research compiled. We are nowhere near that when it comes to e-cigarettes,” states a local Public Health Educator.
We do not know all the effects vaping has on our health. So, is it safe to think it is harmless? No. E-cigarette users breathe in ingredients such as:
- propylene glycol
- vegetable glycerin
- flavor ingredients
- fine metals particles
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted some of these as safe for eating but not breathing in.
So, what do we know about vaping?
- Early studies show flavor ingredients normally found in e-juices may result in lung disease.
- The vapor breathed in has been shown to hurt your heart and could lead to heart disease.
- Non-users can unintentionally breathe in nicotine if they are exposed to the vapor indoors.
- The odds of developing asthma go up about 50% for youth who use e-cigarettes.Research on the effects of vaping continues to take place. The only safe smoking is not smoking. This applies to vaping as well. Here are more ways to take extra precaution:
Move you and your family away from secondhand smoke and vapor clouds.
Use the air re-circulation button in your car when around other smoking or vaping vehicles.
If you vape (or smoke), do not do it in vehicles and take it outside to protect others.
Ready to make a change?
As of today, the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking. There is help. Call the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) today to get free help quitting tobacco.
With school starting up again, Tobacco Free Lancaster County Coalition encourages parents to make sure their children ride in smoke-free vehicles. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to get sick and have trouble learning in school.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have increased risks of bronchitis and other respiratory infections, middle ear infections and more severe asthma. Smoke can also slow lung growth, with permanent consequences. It can make it more difficult to concentrate, too.
Smoke settles into seats, door panels and ceiling liners of vehicles. It re-enters the air for a long time afterward. Then it is called third-hand smoke. Breathing third-hand smoke is also dangerous.
Children are growing rapidly, their lungs and brains are developing and they breathe more air for their body sizes than adults do. All of those things put children at a greater risk for the health problems linked to smoke.
The only good answer is to keep the vehicle smoke-free. Rolling down a window does not eliminate the problem, because much of the smoke stays in the vehicle anyway.
Help your children have a good year at school by keeping your vehicles and their world smoke-free.
Story credit: Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County
In May 2017, teams of youth from Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army and the Malone Center will be visiting 77 different retail locations throughout Lincoln to observe and document tobacco advertising on the inside and the outside of retail locations. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) the tobacco industry spends 60 million dollars a year in Nebraska alone on advertising. Youth will be using an assessment tool created by Counter Tools, a national effort supported by the CDC to engage communities in place-based health equity. Funding for this project was provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco-Free Nebraska as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 23.8% of youth in Lincoln-Lancaster County reported using E.N.D.S. in the past 30 days and 39.1% of youth reported they have “ever used” electronic cigarettes (Centers for Disease Control, 2015). This translates to approximately 3,200 Lincoln/Lancaster County youth using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days.
The 2016 Surgeon General’s report comprehensively reviews the public health issue of e-cigarettes and their impact on U.S. youth and young adults. Studies highlighted in the report cover young adolescents (11-14 years of age); adolescents (15-17 years of age); and/or young adults (18-25 years of age). Scientific evidence contained in this report supports the following facts found here: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults.
Watch for 3 tobacco prevention messages rolling down Lincoln streets!
October 20, 2016, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, Training Center (lower level), 3140 N Street, Lincoln, NE. Lunch is provided. Space is limited. Please RSVP by October 6th to Deb, 402-441-6225, firstname.lastname@example.org or Renee, 402-441-4685, email@example.com
- Learn how to implement a tobacco-free campus policy and enhance compliance.
- Hear from a panel of representatives from colleges, universities, and businesses about their experiences with a tobacco-free campus policy.
- Receive resources and samples of tobacco-free campus policies.
The 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health will be released on January 16.