By: Amy Doerrfeld, Certified Prevention Specialist
World No Tobacco Day is on May 31st and is a national initiative run by the World Health Organization. Their goal is to inform and educate communities about the dangers of tobacco use and the manipulative tactics tobacco companies use to get people hooked on their products. Tobacco companies continue to spend billions of dollars each year to market and legitimize products that have been created to be highly addictive and often lead to disease and death. On a local level, the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) Prevention Services receives funding to address tobacco prevention and control. Some of the ways we are working towards a “World No Tobacco Day” include empowering and working with school youth advocacy groups who are addressing tobacco use in their schools and communities. We also provide education and promotion of Quitline Iowa, which is a free tobacco cessation resource for all Iowans who would like to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.quitnow.net/iowa for more information.
One of our policy initiatives includes working with landlords and property management companies to adopt smoke-free policies. When these are implemented, they ultimately decrease overall expenses associated with cleaning and damages done by tobacco products. In addition, nearly 75% of Iowans surveyed said they would choose a smoke-free apartment building. Many tenants are concerned about the dangers associated with secondhand smoke, especially when living in multi-unit housing because air exchange between units is very common. Property owners and managers with smoke-free policies in Iowa can add their name to the Iowa Smoke-Free Housing Registry, which is a place for prospective tenants to search for smoke-free housing options. They can also receive assistance with policy development and free signage for their properties. Some of our community champions include High Property Management, Hatch Development and Newbo Development Group. However, there are many more that have adopted these policies and we are grateful that they have taken steps to keep their tenants safe and healthy. For more information about ASAC’s services or how to get involved with any of our efforts, please visit our website at www.asac.us. Together, we can make everyday World No Tobacco Day.