Wis­con­sin pub­lic hous­ing res­i­dents of­fered free classes to help in quit­ting smok­ing

Lung as­so­ci­a­tion gives sup­port, pro­grams

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Milwaukee Wisconsin - Meg Jones Milwaukee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - WIS­CON­SIN

All pub­lic hous­ing through­out the U.S., in­clud­ing thou­sands of house­holds in Wis­con­sin, will soon be­come smoke free.

And to help res­i­dents kick the habit, the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion is of­fer­ing free sup­port to smok­ers liv­ing in multi-unit pub­lic hous­ing in the state.

The fed­eral Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment rule takes ef­fect July 31, for­bid­ding cig­a­rettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs from be­ing smoked in all liv­ing units, in­door com­mon ar­eas, ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and out­door ar­eas within 25 feet of hous­ing units. Elec­tronic cig­a­rettes will be al­lowed.

“Not all are happy about it. Some are happy about it,” said Ken Bar­beau, direc­tor of com­mu­nity pro­grams for the Milwaukee Hous­ing Au­thor­ity.

In Milwaukee, where roughly 7,500 res­i­dents live in around 4,100 hous­ing units, of­fi­cials have got­ten the word out about the no-smok­ing change through mail­ings and res­i­dent coun­cil meet­ings.

“We in­form them we’d love for peo­ple to quit smok­ing but you don’t have to quit smok­ing. Just no smok­ing in the build­ings and 25 feet away from the build­ings,” said Bar­beau.

The Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion is of­fer­ing to­bacco ces­sa­tion pro­grams through group ses­sions and on­line and phone sup­port, which can nor­mally cost around $100 per per­son. Fund­ing for the pro­gram will be paid by the an­them Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foun­da­tion.

Smok­ers who want to stop get in­for­ma­tion to help them cre­ate a plan. A phone line staffed by reg­is­tered nurses, res­pi­ra­tory ther­a­pists and to­bacco ces­sa­tion ex­perts are avail­able for smok­ers.

Quit­ting smok­ing “can take peo­ple mul­ti­ple at­tempts, said Keri Sch­nei­der, se­nior man­ager of to­bacco pro­grams for the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion in Wis­con­sin. “We want to pro­vide different op­por­tu­ni­ties for (pub­lic hous­ing) res­i­dents, whether it’s an eight-ses­sion pro­gram, meeting roughly once a week, or through on­line, or meeting over the phone one time a week to help the per­son through the quit-smok­ing process.”

The Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates 17% of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion uses to­bacco prod­ucts. The num­ber of pub­lic hous­ing res­i­dents who smoke is quite a bit higher, an es­ti­mated 40%.

Pub­lic hous­ing res­i­dents in Milwaukee caught us­ing to­bacco prod­ucts in their units af­ter July 31 will have the in­ci­dent treated like other lease vi­o­la­tions.

“They won’t be evicted on the first vi­o­la­tion but if it con­tin­ues, we will. We hope to work with res­i­dents to make sure it doesn’t get to that point,” said Bar­beau.

To learn about quit­ting smok­ing, con­tact the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion, (800) 586-4872 or visit Lung.org/ffs.

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