On the third Thursday of November, we mark the Great American Smokeout by highlighting available resources throughout Boston for those interested in quitting. Today, we also emphasize the importance importance of tobacco control in our homes and places of work to limit the exposure to second hand smoke for non-smokers in hopes of creating a clean air environment in Boston.
Secondhand smoke is a dangerous house guest. It can creep in under doors and through vents. Tobacco and other smoke is a source of poor indoor air quality. Secondhand smoke can cause early death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infection, ear problems and more severe asthma. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke can also causes heart disease and lung cancer.
Going smoke-free makes your home or apartment healthier, safer and easier to maintain. Approximately 80% of Massachusetts residents have smoke-free policies in their own homes already and it is completely legal to make a rental property smoke-free. A written no smoking policy means that smoking is prohibited anywhere inside the building as well as outdoor areas where smoking may contaminate indoor air. Smoke free policies can include tobacco, e-cigarette and marijuana smoking or vaping.
The Boston Public Health Commission is working with tenants, landlords, property managers, health care institutions and others to increase the availability of smoke-free multifamily housing in Boston. Go to www.BostonSmokeFreeHomes.org for information on the benefits of smoke free housing and guidance on transitioning to smoke free or to list your smoke free building on the Boston Smoke Free Homes Registry.
If you are currently a smoker, but would like to quit, there are resources available to help you succeed. Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy, such as the Patch, doubles the chance of success. Combine that with counseling and the odds of success triple. Free phone counseling is available from the nationwide Smokers Helpline by dialing 1 800 QUIT-NOW. This free hotline will help anyone plan out their quit attempt and access resources nationwide.
For more information on quitting smoking please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and for more information on services offered through the Boston Public health Commission, please visit us at www.bphc.org.
Damon Chaplin, MBA is the Coordinator for the Division of Healthy Homes.
 US Department of Health and Human Services. “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General-Executive Summary”2006.
 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS CPS) 2006-2007