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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

September 18, 2012
Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Conference to focus on promoting smokefree policies in multi-unit housing

The annual Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program conference is Sept. 19-20 in Helena at the Gateway Center and the focus this year will be the promotion of smokefree policies in multi-unit housing complexes around the state.

About 85 tobacco use prevention specialists and other health officials will attend the conference dubbed “Sailing Toward a Tobacco-Free Future.”

Thus far, Housing Authorities in Glendive, Helena, Billings, Miles City, Missoula, Sidney, Whitefish, Great Falls, Butte and Ronan have all adopted either full or partial facility smokefree policies.

“Smokefree public housing is a nationwide effort now being promoted in Montana by DPHHS,” said Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Anna Whiting Sorrell. “We all know the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. So far, this effort has been well received in Montana, but we can still do better.”

The event includes a full agenda, highlighted by a smokefree multi-unit housing presentation at 10:45 to noon on Wednesday, September 19 from Dian Kiser, Ph.D., and Theresa Boschert, J.D. 

Kiser is the Director of SHARE-Sustainable Health Advances in Rural Environments and Co-Director of BREATH – The Global Smoke-Free Workplace Program and Boschert is the Director of WIN-Wellness Initiatives Now.

MTUPP statistics show that as many as 175 Montana residents die each year from exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke-related health costs are serious, but they’re also preventable.
The 2008 and 2009 Montana Adult Tobacco Survey found that fewer than one-in-five respondents who live in multi-unit housing (approximately 9,000 or 19 percent) are protected by a smokefree policy.

More than one-third (36 percent) of those respondents have children 17 years or younger living with them. Of Montana multi-unit renters who do not have a smokefree policy in their building or complex, the majority (85 percent) are in favor of their landlord adopting a smokefree policy, the survey found.

Stacy Campbell of the DPHHS Tobacco Use Prevention Program said many landlords have been receptive to this idea. “Since we started working to pass smokefree policies in multi-unit housing, nearly half of the Montana’s Housing Authorities have passed policies that protect their residents from secondhand smoke.”

Specifically, the conference will address topics such as establishing and maintaining smokefree housing areas, working with youth to implement tobacco use prevention efforts, and continued compliance with the state’s landmark Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), which was implemented statewide in 2009 – a mandate that has widespread support throughout the state.

WHAT: Annual Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program conference
WHO: State tobacco use prevention specialists, health officials
WHERE: Helena, Gateway Center
1710 National Avenue
WHEN:  September 19-20
Page last updated: 08/21/2012