News // February 07, 2014

Residents Find Smoke-Free Policy a Breath of Fresh Air

When Vivian Simpson and her 10-year-old grandson Johnathon heard that their apartment complex in the Oak Park neighborhood of San Diego would go completely smoke-free, they were understandably relieved.

Jonathan suffers from asthma, and Vivian is a cancer survivor, so second-hand smoke is a health issue for them – as it is for everyone.

“This will help me breathe better,” Johnathon said. “I don’t breathe as well around smoke.”

Vivian says it was difficult to escape smoke at the complex.

“Wherever people are smoking, it affects you if you are nearby,” she said. “This makes it easier on those of us who don’t want the smoke around.”

Second-hand smoke exposure kills 44,000 people every year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. It impacts vulnerable populations, like children and seniors, as well as low-income residents. It’s an ongoing problem in multi-unit housing settings, such as apartment complexes – and one-third of California residents live in multi-unit housing. Given the many good reasons to do so, some complexes are voluntarily adopting policies to protect tenants.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, under its Healthy Works initiative, is helping multi-unit complexes throughout San Diego County plan and implement no-smoking policies that end smoking – indoors and outdoors - at the complexes. The County has contracted with Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego to work with multi-unit housing complexes on developing and implementing these no-smoking policies.

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