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Tobacco-free Living

Facts about smoking

  • Cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause more than 440,000 premature deaths each year in the United States.
  • Nearly 10,000 Missourians die every year from tobacco-related illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. More than 1,100 additional deaths are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke every year.
  • Smokers who quit experience immediate and long term benefits: normal heart rates and blood pressure, increased oxygen levels in the blood, improved circulation, reduced coughing or wheezing, improved lung function and more.
  • Smoking is not a legal right and smoking is not protected under any state or federal law.

Health threats from secondhand smoke

  • Ventilation systems and most air filters do not protect people from secondhand smoke. Eliminating indoor smoking is the only way to protect nonsmokers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
  • Secondhand smoke is a leading trigger of asthma attacks and other respiratory problems, and a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • It is estimated that living with a smoker increases a person’s chance of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

What can you do?

  • Quit smoking. Are you ready to quit? Here are some resources that can help.
  • Understand the risks from second-hand smoke. Walls don't keep tobacco smoke out. Your smoking is dangerous for the non-smokers around you, including your loved ones.
  • Support smoke-free environments. Encourage your employer and your property manager to make your building smoke-free. (Read about the benefits of smoke-free housing below.)

What can communities and employers do?

  • Reduce the risk from second-hand smoke. Many communities across the region, including the Kansas City area, are encouraging smoke-free living by establishing smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing and business campuses, and public spaces like parks, restaurants and shopping areas. This is a great way to prevent disease and create a healthier environment for our families and neighbors.

Facts about tobacco-free housing:

  • Most people who live in apartments don’t smoke, and as many as 78 percent of tenants, including smokers, would choose to live in a smoke-free complex.
  • Complaints about smoking and unit transfer requests drop after implementation of a smoke-free policy.
  • Smoking is a leading cause of residential fires and the number one cause of fire deaths in the United States.
  • Apartment turnover costs can be two to seven times greater when smoking is allowed.
  • Smoke-free policies can support smokers who are trying to quit and encourage those who aren’t ready to quit to smoke less. 
  • Smoke-free environments eliminate the health threats to non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Smoke-free policies help decrease the number of youths who start smoking.

In 2011, the Mid-America Regional Council and three public health departments in Jackson County received a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work on programs that prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Learn more here, and find materials here.