05 | 30 | 2018


Public Health Solutions’ NYC Smoke-Free Program partners with NYCHA to create film highlighting landmark action protecting over 400,000 residents from secondhand smoke.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 31, 2018
May 31, 2018 – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Public Health Solutions’ (PHS) NYC Smoke-Free Program, and other advocates today marked World No Tobacco Day with the release and screening of a smoke-free housing video “Going Smoke-Free: NYCHA Implements the HUD Rule.” The video is a short film documenting the implementation of “Smoke-Free NYCHA,” the response to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rule requiring all public housing authorities (PHA) nationwide to be smoke-free by July 30, 2018. 
Tobacco use remains the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 people every year – with secondhand smoke causing over 41,000 deaths per year. This summer, almost 400,000 New Yorkers who depend on public housing from NYCHA will receive protection from harmful secondhand smoke pollution in their homes as a result of this HUD ban on smoking. 
Over 600 PHAs have already implemented smoke-free policies. NYCHA took the time to study what these Authorities did to garner best practices on how to introduce this new rule. NYCHA also prioritized resident input throughout the process. From one development that piloted a Smoke-Free policy to resident advisors, the Smoke-Free NYCHA policy has had resident involvement at every stage. This film represents the many young NYCHA residents who have been advocates and prominent leaders of the Smoke-Free NYCHA implementation. 
“Our partners in Smoke-Free NYCHA are critical to successfully helping residents adjust to this new HUD rule,” said NYCHA Executive Vice President for Community Engagement and Partnerships Sideya Sherman.
“Since this policy was first proposed, we have been actively educating residents and looking for new ways to get the word out about Smoke-Free NYCHA, and this video, with Public Health Solutions’ NYC Smoke-Free program and our Youth Leadership Council residents, demonstrates what it will take to collectively reduce exposure to second hand smoke in public housing. But we can all agree that the end result will mean a healthier NYCHA for all residents.”
Created by PHS’s NYC Smoke-Free Program, a member of NYCHA’s Smoking and Health Advisory group, the film will serve as an educational and informative tool used to expand reach to all NYCHA residents and inform them about the upcoming policy and implementation process, and raise awareness about tobacco disparities. Most importantly, the film also provides information on available resources to help current smokers quit.
“NYCHA’s new smoke-free policy is an important step forward as we work to ensure all New Yorkers—no matter where they live—have the tools, resources, and support they need to lead healthy, thriving lives,” said Lisa David, President and CEO of Public Health Solutions. “With decades of experience in tobacco-control work, Public Health Solutions’ NYC Smoke-Free program was honored to be a part of NYCHA’s Smoking and Health Advisory Group and assist in developing a smoke-free policy that benefits residents and employees alike. Although we’ve made great progress in our fight against Big Tobacco, there is still work that needs to be done, and it’s imperative that we continue to engage communities in creating a smoke-free NYC.” 
"This new lifesaving rule will protect hundreds of thousands of NYCHA residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke," said Michael Seilback, National AVP, State Public Policy for the American Lung Association. "The lifesaving benefits of going smoke-free are incredible, but we also understand that for those residents who smoke, quitting can be difficult," Seilback said. "Smoking is a serious addiction: the Lung Association and our health partners are committed to helping NYCHA residents quit smoking if they’re ready to do so."
“NYCHA’s new landmark smoke-free policy will create healthier homes, motivate smokers to quit and save lives, “said Dr. Donna Shelley, MD, MPH, founder and director of NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Program at Perlmutter Cancer Center.  “NYCHA community engagement efforts offer a model for other cities and states that are implementing a smoke-free policy.”
One of the key components of implementing Smoke-Free NYCHA was the inclusion of young voices. NYC Smoke-Free worked with several students from NYCHA’s Youth Leadership Councils (YLC’s) - part of the NextGeneration NYCHA – and utilized the video project to engage, educate and build leadership among NYCHA youth residents to help support the implementation of the Smoke-Free Policy. In addition to learning about smoke-free housing and tobacco control efforts, the students received hands on experience in filmmaking.
"The NYCHA Smoke-Free Policy will have a profound impact on thousands of people living in public housing," said Joanes Prosper, CEO & Creative Director for Prosper Digital TV. "We are proud of our partnership with Public Health Solutions and its NYC Smoke-Free Program to create this video. We look forward to seeing how it can be used to educate and inform residents about the significance of the new policy."
Living free from the dangers of secondhand smoke will no longer be a luxury out of reach for NYCHA residents.
The video was released on World No Tobacco Day (held every year on May 31st), when people across the globe are encouraged to quit as well as raise awareness about the devastating health effects of tobacco use. 
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About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) 
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Almost 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 325 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nycha, and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.
NYC Smoke-Free – a program of Public Health Solutions, works to protect the health of New Yorkers through tobacco control policy, advocacy, and education. We partner with community members and organizations, legislators, and health advocates to support local efforts to end the devastating tobacco epidemic throughout NYC. We believe every New Yorker has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they live, work and play. For more information visit, nycsmokefree.org.
Public Health Solutions (PHS) is the largest public health nonprofit serving New York City. For over 60 years, PHS has improved health outcomes and helped families thrive by providing services directly to the city’s most vulnerable populations, publishing groundbreaking research that moves public health policy and practice forward, and supporting over 200 community-based organizations through our long-standing government partnerships. We are a leader in addressing crucial public health issues, including food and nutrition, health insurance access, maternal and child health, reproductive health, tobacco control, and HIV/AIDS prevention. PHS has a strong focus on health equity to ensure NYC families have the basics for a healthier life. For more information, visit healthsolutions.org.