SUNBURY – During an event yesterday at the Sunbury Housing Authority, Northumberland County, Secretary of Health Michael Wolf encouraged multi-unit housing properties across the commonwealth to incorporate smoke free policies. Wolf applauded the Sunbury Housing Authority for recently implementing smoke free policies at two of its indoor living communities.
“Now more than ever it is critical to establish strong relationships with our community partners and continue to find ways to make changes that will positively impact the health status of our communities,” Wolf said. “This initiative is a perfect example of what happens when this occurs. Changes are being implemented at the local level with the support of the state and are resulting in positive outcomes for all members in the community and, it’s all being done with little to no cost.”
Pennsylvania is following national trends of promoting smoke free, multi-unit housing to decrease health consequences of secondhand smoke on residents, families and children. Cessation services to quit smoking are also offered to assist residents in improving their own health and complying with the new policies.
Multi-unit housing properties in at least 38 counties across the commonwealth have adopted smoke free policies and this list continues to grow. Secondhand smoke, which is extremely dangerous, has been proven to drift between units resulting in a health hazard for renters and staff.
“Our goal is to encourage all multi-unit housing properties to get on board. These changes will not only benefit the residents and visitors by creating a smoke free environment, they will also help minimize renovation costs for building management and owners,” Wolf said.
According to the Surgeon General’s Report released earlier this month, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease nationwide. Additionally, research continues to identify diseases that can be caused by smoking such as colorectal and liver cancers, diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis, proof that smoking is even more harmful than previously thought. While the report indicates that we have made great strides fighting the tobacco epidemic, it overwhelmingly reinforces that comprehensive tobacco control programs and policies have been proven to be effective.
For any individual trying to become smoke free, the department offers the Pennsylvania free “Quitline” at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), where trained coaches develop and carry out a plan to quit smoking for each caller.
The service offers Pennsylvania residents one-on-one coaching, free nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches, lozenges or gum and provides ongoing support and resources.