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Public housing going smoke free

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         In advance of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) smoke free housing rule requiring all public housing to be smoke free by July 31, 2018, the American Lung Association in Georgia, with support from the Amerigroup Foundation, will offer quit smoking support for residents. Through the Smoking Cessation for Low Income Housing Residents initiative, the Lung Association will work with Public Housing Agencies and other local partners to provide smokers wanting to quit access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services such as Freedom From Smoking®.

“While we applaud the new smoke free policy to protect the thousands of Georgia’s public housing residents from secondhand smoke, we also understand that quitting smoking can be difficult for those residents that smoke,” said Ateya Wilson, Director of Health Promotions of the American Lung Association in Georgia. “We are proud to partner with the Amerigroup Foundation and local organizations to provide access to free quit smoking counseling and support – which is key to helping individuals overcome smoking addiction.”

Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and more. The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, which is part of why it can be so tough to quit smoking. On average, it takes a tobacco user eight to 11 quit attempts before they are smoke free for good.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and over 70 percent  of smokers want to quit but just don’t know how to start that process,” said Melvin Lindsey, President of Amerigroup’s Georgia Health Plan. “We are proud to team with the American Lung Association to offer quit smoking guidance and support, as well as help prevent tobacco-related illnesses.”

The American Lung Association will work with community partners to bring proven, effective tobacco cessation programs such as Freedom From Smoking® which has helped over one million smokers quit. The Lung Association’s quit smoking program is offered in person, online and by phone and includes content on building a quit plan, medications that can aid quitting smoking, lifestyle changes that support quitting smoking, how to manage stress and how to overcome relapse and become smoke free for good.

To learn more about how to quit smoking, call the Lung Association’s toll-free Lung Helpline 1-800-LUNGUSA, or learn more about Freedom From Smoking® at Lung.org/ffs. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association in Georgia at 770-434-5864