has been working with the Henry County Housing Authority on "Smoke Free"
initiatives as a part of its new "We Choose Health" Grant.
"We Choose Health" is a multi-year Illinois Department of Public Health
(IDPH) initiative to encourage and support obesity and tobacco prevention in
Illinois Communities. IDPH received a Community Transformation Grant (CTG)
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with
communities to implement proactive health programs.
Alison Womack, Health Department "We Choose Health" Grant Community
Health Advisor/Specialist notes, "We are pleased to be working with the
Henry County Housing Authority to help with smoke free initiatives in its
multi-housing units. The truth is that secondhand smoke exposure poses
serious health threats to children and adults. According to the US Surgeon
General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Eliminating
indoor smoking is the only way to protect nonsmokers from the harmful
effects of tobacco smoke. For residents of multi-unit housing (e.g.,
apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major
concern given that it can migrate from other units through ventilation
systems, plumbing, electrical lines and doorways."
"Smoke-Free" Iniatatives that the Housing Authority is currently
* Instituting smoking huts at their four high-rises (Maple City-Geneseo,
Lincoln-Galva, and Hollis and Washington in Kewanee).
* Making outdoor cigarette butt receptacles available at their multi-unit
housing and tracking the frequency of cleaning and disposal of these
* Adopting and approving a smoke free policy by the Housing Authority's
Board of Directors.
Womack adds, "These are just a starting points for us. Other grant
goals and objectives include: coordinating educational sessions and smoking
cessation sessions; promotion of the Illinois Tobacco Quitline; and
monitoring the volume and use of nicotine replacement therapy products among
tenants. We look forward to working with the Housing Authority in
instituting more proactive "Smoke Free" initiates. After all, such efforts
can reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, lung cancer and premature
death in adults. And in children, they reduce the risk of sudden infant
death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, asthma, and ear infections."
For more information on the "We Choose Health" grant offered through
the Henry and Stark County Health Departments call the Department at (309)
852-0197 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on
Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.