TUESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking bans in subsidized housing, including public housing and rental assistance programs, would save $521 million a year, according to new U.S. government research.
The authors of the study, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimated that cuts in health care costs related to secondhand smoke would account for the bulk of the savings, or $341 million annually. They pointed out that smoke-free policies are particularly important in multi-unit housing, where exposure to secondhand smoke can be particularly harmful.
"Many of the more than 7 million Americans living in subsidized housing in the United States are children, the elderly or disabled," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in a CDC news release. "These are people who are most sensitive to being exposed to secondhand smoke. This report shows that there are substantial financial benefits to implementing smoke-free policies, in addition to the health benefits those policies bring."
The national president and CEO of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer, endorsed the report.
"This study confirms that a smoke-free policy in all subsidized housing, in conjunction with comprehensive quit-smoking health benefits, would drastically improve public health and save the nation millions of dollars in the process," Wimmer said in an American Lung Association statement.
"Evidence shows that residents of multi-family housing are exposed to secondhand smoke even if they live in a unit where no one smokes," Wimmer added. "Nearly 63 million of the 79 million Americans who live in multi-family housing do not allow smoking in their homes, but approximately 28 million of them reported that secondhand smoke still infiltrated their homes, according to a recent study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research," he said.
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