The mandate for all Federally Funded Housing Developments to be smoke free is nearing its deadline. The mandate goes into effect on July 31, 2018. Most Federal, State and Local offices have already implemented smoke free policies, as well as, eliminating designated smoking areas.
One of the determining factors for expanding the smoking ban to public and non-public residential areas is to limit the exposure of secondhand smoke. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposurecan be harmful to a person’s health. Most exposure to secondhand smoke occurs at home or at the work place.
To limit exposure to secondhand smokehere are some rules to follow:
- Quit smoking
- Do not allow anyone to smoke in or near your home
- Do not allow people to smoke in your car, even with the windows down
- Make sure day care centers and schools are tobacco-free
- Stay away from secondhand smoke
Recent years haveseen a decline in exposure to secondhand smoke; greatly due to laws restricting smoking in indoor areas of work and public places, including restaurants, bars, and casinos. Other reasoning for the decline are that more people are choosing to quit and smoking has become less socially acceptable. However grateful for the decline, there is still more to be done. Most recently, tobacco companies, through a court ordered judgement, began a campaign to educate the public on the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. According to data released by the CDC,Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
Smoking and secondhand smoke creates health risks for both children and adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from:
- Ear infections
- Frequent and severe asthma attacks
- Respiratory symptoms (such as, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath)
- Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)
- Are at a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Harmful health risk in adults include:
- Heart Disease
- Lung Cancer
- Higher risk of Stroke
Like any addiction, it may take several attempts to stop smoking before success is achieved. Most states and local governments have quit smoking hotlines that provide assistance, as well as, hospitals and the American Lung Associates that offer programs and materials for smokers and non-smokers who will provide support. What is important is that you are never too old to quit smoking and that there are health benefits to gain whenever you decide to quit. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung and other types of cancer, lowers the risk for heart disease, strokes, vascular, pulmonary, and respiratory diseases.
Making an effort to quit smoking enables you to take part in creating a healthier environment. Remember that smoking not only put you at risk for developing health problems but also costproperty owners an average of $8000 per unit for damage caused by smoking.