QuitDoc Foundation and Measure Up Marion Prepare Public Housing Residents for New Smoke-Free Policy
November 17, 2016

In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that public housing authorities across the nation would transition to smoke free living environments. “We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro, in a press release. “This proposed rule will help improve the health of more than 760,000 children and help public housing agencies save $153 million every year in healthcare, repairs and preventable fires.”

As the Ocala Housing Authority prepares to transition to tobacco free grounds in all 4 low income housing properties, Measure Up Marion and the QuitDoc Foundation have been helping to prepare residents by providing educational presentations about the health effects of secondhand smoke and safety concerns of lit tobacco products inside the home. It is part of Measure Up Marion’s effort to Improve Community Health with initiatives funded by the Centers for Disease Control to help reduce secondhand smoke exposure.

Residents at Deer Run Apartments participate in educational
presentation on health effects of tobacco use.

These presentations and the upcoming policy change have provided motivation for residents to quit all kinds of tobacco use, and they won’t have to quit alone. Residents will be able to prepare themselves for tobacco free living by taking part in cessation support groups. These voluntary groups will work with tobacco users through their personal quitting process and help them understand what their bodies will go through as they withdraw from nicotine. Counsellors will help them understand their withdrawal symptoms, and explain how the body is repairing itself from its long exposure to nicotine and other toxins. Within 24 hours of abrupt smoking/tobacco cessation, withdrawal symptoms may appear as the body begins its healing process. These groups focus on realistic expectations and encourage quitters to be patient. Smokers and other tobacco users didn’t get addicted in a day, so they can’t expect to quit in a day.

Measure Up Marion supports the efforts of the residents of Deer Run, Shady Hollow, Pine Gardens and Pavilion Oaks Apartments as they make their steps towards healthier living.