July 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm TwinCities.com PIONEER PRESS
Public housing officials implementing smoke-free policies motivates residents to quit or smoke less, according to a new study.
Conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health, the smoke-free policy experiment saw decreases in smoking and the prevalence of indoor secondhand smoke. The study included eight public housing properties that implemented smoke-free policy changes.
“These policies protect residents,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger in a statement Thursday.
The study found a 46 percent drop in frequent indoor secondhand smoke exposure. Also, 77 percent of the smokers said they reduced smoking and 5 percent of the smokers reported they quit smoking.
In Minnesota, smoking causes more than $2.5 billion in medical costs.
Eliminating smoking in public housing would preserve $153 million in annual cost savings nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The savings comes from health care costs related to secondhand smoke.
Officials are considering prohibiting the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all public housing units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and possibly outdoor areas within 25 feet of buildings. A decision could be made this fall.