Ban smoking from public housing

It was with disappointment that I read the article about Altoona Housing Authority (AHA) allowing tenants to smoke.

By not prohibiting smoking throughout its public housing properties, AHA is choosing to expose tenants, many of them families with little children, to the well-known dangers of secondhand smoke, not to mention the added risks of fire.

We are all born with just one set of lungs, and when our lungs are damaged, our lives are never the same. Secondhand smoke damages lungs and can cause illnesses like asthma and lung cancer. This is avoidable.

No one should be forced to breathe the contaminated air generated by a neighbor who smokes, this is why we advocate for smokefree multi-housing units for all communities.

The harmful chemicals found in secondhand smoke can remain in the air for hours, even days, after a cigarette has been smoked. Secondhand smoke travels – drifting down stairwells, hallways, seeping between walls and floorboards and traveling under doors.

People who live in subsidized housing are at a higher risk of secondhand smoke exposure. Agencies such as Altoona Housing Authority have a responsibility to protect tenants from the risk of fire and the hazards of secondhand smoke.

Failing to keep tenants safe could be a liability.

The effects of smokefree policies are immediate. Indoor air pollution drops by nearly 90 percent, allowing for healthier lungs, healthier hearts, and healthier families.

Please join me and the American Lung Association in the fight for smoke free multi-housing policies, because everyone deserves to breathe clean air.

Joy Meyer

Executive Director

Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco