Nevada County looks to beef up smoke-free policies | SierraSun.com

Nevada County looks to beef up smoke-free policies

Special to the Sun

Woman smoker smoking a filter tip cigarette with her hand resting on a slatted wooden table with copy space, close up view

The Nevada County Public Health Department recently kicked off a "Healthy Housing for Healthy Living 2017" Campaign. The purpose is to increase the amount of 100% smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing in Nevada County.

Smoke-free policies not only protect the health of tenants but also lower the risk of fire and lower maintenance cost by reducing smoke related property damage.

Drifting secondhand smoke in a home can cause significant illness, including asthma, ear infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.

"This is a reality for many residents currently living in apartments in our community," says Shannon Glaz, Health Education Coordinator for Nevada County Public Health. "Over the past five months I have received calls from six local residents stating that they are living with daily exposure to second-hand smoke. One woman said that she tries to hold her breath coming and going from the front door of her home."

Exposure of secondhand smoke, a known human carcinogen, contains more than 70 cancer-causing chemicals — and can lead to disease and premature death in nonsmoking adults and children, according to the California Department of Public Health's 2009 Tobacco Control Update.

Smoke-free housing is not a luxury — as a tenant you have a right to breathe air free of secondhand smoke pollutants.

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Research has shown that smoke from a single cigarette can drift 25 feet or more in every direction. In the case of multi-unit housing, the smoke not only drifts out of a unit into common areas, but also into neighboring units through shared ventilation, under doorways, electrical outlets, walls and ceiling.

A study from the Center for Energy and Environment confirmed that up to 60% of the air in a unit can come from adjoining units.

The results from an apartment tenant survey in the Brunswick basin shows that 54.5% of the tenants have experienced smoke drifting into their apartments and 61% of these tenants would support a no smoking policy for apartment units.

"We have an estimated 5,153 families living in multi-unit housings in Nevada County," said Glaz. "If we can help family's lower health risks for themselves and their children where they spend a large majority of their time, then we are doing our job as stewards of public health."

Statewide at least 37 municipalities have implemented multi-unit smoke-free policies, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In Nevada County, officials take a different approach by working directly with apartment complexes to provide them with technical assistance and the tools they would need to create smoke-free living environments.

If you would like to initiate a healthy housing campaign at your complex or have any additional questions regarding adopting a smoke-free policy, contact Glaz at 530) 265-1451.

This article was provided by Nevada County Public Health. Visit http://bit.ly/25Jd8eH to learn more.