Monthly Archives: February 2013

There’s no place like home

There has been lots of interesting dialogue in the world of smokefree housing this month at both the local and state level. Earlier this month County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky posted blog about the great work happening in Los Angeles County around smokefree multiunit housing and Monday the Contra Costa Times posted an article about a perspective Walnut Creek secondhand smoke ordinance that would prohibit smoking in indoor and outdoor common areas. And in state news, just last week Assembly Member Marc Levine introduced AB 746 which would prohibit smoking in all multiunit housing in California. We know that secondhand smoke is more than a nuisance, in fact there are some huge health impacts when it comes to drifting secondhand smoke; heart disease, asthma, lung cancer and stroke just to name a few. Read More »

In a Category All Their Own

Adults with mental illness are in a category all of their own – smoking is 70% higher for adults with mental illness. This is according a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which states that nearly 1 in every 5 adults in the United States (about 45.7 million Americans) have some type of mental illness.

The report also confirms that adult smokers with mental illness smoke more cigarettes per day than those without a mental illness, about 11 cigarettes a day. These statistics are even more alarming among minority and low-income people who experience mental health problems. Read More »

Did you ever think smell could be harmful?

Recently, I was flipping through the newest issue of Women’s Health Magazine and came across an article about third-hand smoke. At first, I was taken aback because I had never heard of it before. If you know any smokers, you have smelled that stale, lingering smoke before. That is third-hand smoke!

Did you ever think just that smell could be harmful? I never gave that a thought until today. I read a little further and learned that you can breathe in third-hand smoke from almost anything exposed to smoke, such as clothing and furniture. The toxins from cigarette smoke can also build up on these items to create a bigger hazard. Research has shown that third-hand smoke is a health hazard for infants and children, and can lead to respiratory issues and ear infections. Read More »

A Legacy Worth Fighting For

Guest Blogger – Serena Chen, American Lung Association in California

Over the past 20+ years as a tobacco control advocate I have met some pretty special people – one of the most memorable has been Kenneth Leung, who, at the time I met him in 2007 was 77 years old and ready to fight for the right to be able to breath in his own home.

A former smoker, he had emphysema and had quickly realized that shortly after moving into a senior housing complex in Alameda that his health was deteriorating due to the smoke drifting into his apartment from his downstairs neighbor.  Although the property manager offered to move him to a “safer” unit, he refused because “someone else would be put into harm’s way.”

He called the American Lung Association and found me who asked him to wait until I could set aside some time to help him.  He didn’t listen.  He began to organize his fellow residents to advocate for non-smoking buildings within the 168-unit complex.  He brought the issue up with the City of Alameda Housing Commission, ultimately recruiting nine other tenants to attend a commission meeting and brought letters of support from an additional eight residents.

As a result of his efforts, the Smoking Policy Committee was established in July 2007 with Housing Authority staff, residents from the Independence Plaza complex including Mr. Leung, and me.  He had started the “revolution” without me and now I was joining in to help him bring it to a successful outcome.  Along the way, he worked with the Chinese-speaking residents who made up about a quarter of the residents to ensure that they understood the process.

He told me that when he turned 70 he sat down and reviewed his life to see what achievements he was most proud of.  “I had nothing.  What I can do here [for smokefree housing] is going to be it,” he explained to me.  How could I not help this man! Read More »

New Year, New Trainings

From the foggy redwoods of Crescent City to the desert border of El Centro, and lots of cities big and small in between, the American Lung Association in California’s Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing has provided countless trainings for local tobacco control coalitions.

And guess what? It’s free.

Our trainings cover topics like public speaking, the strategy chart, and coalition building. In addition, we have a few new trainings to offer this year: Read More »