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Letter: Congratulations to HRA on smoke-free housing

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On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the Worthington Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) will be celebrating the implementation of its smoke-free housing policy.

This program began in the fall of 2011 when the management and board of the Worthington HRA decided to work with Southwest Community Health Improvement Program (C.H.I.P) in creating a healthier environment for their residents.

The residents of all the HRA properties -- the Atrium, Prairie Acres, and the scattered sites (single family homes and duplexes) -- were surveyed to determine their smoking behaviors (did they smoke, did they smoke in their apartment, did they not smoke) and their desire to live in smoke free housing or not. Once survey data on all properties was gathered, the HRA Board decided to pass a smoke-free policy that allowed for a phase-in approach, giving smoking tenants enough time to seek assistance for quitting or options for alternative housing.

All tenants were invited to information meetings where the rules and process for going smoke free were presented and discussed, and tenants could voice any concerns or questions. With the target date of 12-12-12 in place, Southwest C.H.I.P offered monthly tips on how to quit smoking, especially promoting QUITPLAN Services where smokers receive telephone-based coaching at their own pace and nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenges).

Please join me in congratulating the residents, management and staff of Worthington HRA in becoming the largest smoke-free housing program in the county. We will be hosting a reception at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Atrium to celebrate the HRA's success and congratulate those who have quit smoking.

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