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‘Healthy Housing for Healthy Living 2017’ campaign launched by Nevada County Public Health

Submitted to The Union

The Nevada County Public Health Department is kicking off a “Healthy Housing for Healthy Living 2017” campaign.

The purpose is to increase the amount of 100 percent smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing in Nevada County. According to a news release, 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,” said 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.

Smoke-free housing is not a luxury, the release states. Tenants have the right to breathe air free of secondhand smoke pollutants. 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 percent of the air in a unit can come from adjoining units. The results from an apartment tenant survey in Grass Valley’s Glenbrook Basin shows that 54.5 percent of the tenants have experienced smoke drifting into their apartments and 61 percent 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. Nevada County takes a different approach by working directly with apartment complexes to provide them with technical assistance and tools needed to create smoke-free living environments.

Since the county’s previous Healthy Housing, Healthy Living Campaign, six apartments went smoke-free: Cedar Park Apartments, Orchard Hill Apartments, Nevada Commons, Glenbrook, Oak Ridge and Gold Country Village.

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

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