Living smoke-free in Dakota County
The Community Action Partnership of Scott, Carver & Dakota counties made their 41 housing units in South St. Paul, Burnsville and Savage smoke-free. The switch protects more than 100 residents from secondhand smoke. The housing program provides safe and stable housing for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Joseph Vaughan, CEO of the Community Action Partnership, praised the new policy. He said, “Going smoke-free and establishing a no-smoking environment within our properties makes sense for healthy living and aligns into our vision of strong communities with healthy individuals and families.”
The policy adoption (and implementation), including resident education and new signage, was supported by Dakota County and Scott County Public Health and the Live Smoke Free Initiative with SHIP funding.
Dakota County Public Health contracts with the Live Smoke Free Initiative, an advocacy group, to identify and assist property managers looking to make their building smoke-free. They provide education and resources to residents and managers. They met with board members of the Community Action Partnership to discuss the merits and health benefits of smoke-free living.
There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control, More than 1 in 3 non-smokers who live in rental housing are exposed to secondhand smoke at home. In the United States, about 50,000 adult non-smokers die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers says the best way to eliminate the health risks that come from secondhand exposure is to ban smoking activity indoors,