FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2017
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
Everyone deserves a breath of fresh air
June is National Healthy Homes Month and the best way to keep your home healthy is to ensure it's free of tobacco smoke
During the month of June, state health officials encourage all Montanans to participate in National Healthy Homes Month by making sure homes are free of tobacco smoke.
“The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act protects people from being exposed to secondhand smoke in public places such work places, restaurants, and bars,” says Department of Public Health and Human Services Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman. “However, people living in multi-unit housing can’t control their exposure if their neighbors are smoking.”
Toxins in tobacco smoke harm anyone exposed to at least 70 known cancer-causing agents as well as more than 7,000 chemicals that are known to cause increased blood pressure, lung damage, and abnormal kidney function.
A single cigarette can contain chemicals such as acetone, which is used in nail polish remover, or arsenic, which is used in rat poison.
Additionally, there is currently no proof that e-cigarette aerosol, or “e-vapor,” is safe, even if the “e-juice” does not contain nicotine. Research has shown that at least 10 chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, lead, nickel, and toluene can be present in e-cigarette aerosol.
Air purifiers and ventilation systems can’t prevent secondhand smoke from passing into neighboring units through vents, windows, and even electrical outlets. The only way to ensure there is zero exposure to tobacco smoke is if the landlord adopts a smokefree policy for the facility.
“Landlords who go smokefree can save both lives and money,” Holzman said.
The 2016 Montana Adult Tobacco Survey found that 78 percent of renters not currently living in a smokefree building want their landlord to go smokefree; however, only 25 percent of Montana renters are currently protected by smokefree policies.
Furthermore, a smokefree policy will reduce fire risk and prevent costly damage to carpets, wall coverings, paint, and countertops. It can cost hundreds of dollars to clean up and turn around smoked-in units.
Smokefree laws work, Holzman stresses. A review of over 80 peer-reviewed research studies show that smokefree policies effectively reduce tobacco use, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, increase the number of tobacco users who quit, reduce initiation of tobacco use among young people, and reduce tobacco-related illness and death.
Going smokefree is legal and relatively easy. The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program can help by providing sample policy language, free educational materials, and free smokefree signage.
Interested landlords and tenants can get more information at 1-866-787-5247 or visit tobaccofree.mt.gov.