Exposure to secondhand smoke poses serious health threats to children and adults. It can lead to problems including lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It can also make asthma worse in adults and children.
Residents of multi-unit housing can be exposed to secondhand smoke, even if they do not allow smoking in their home. Valeria Rodriguez Pedroza, Health Education Specialist with Fresno EOC Urban Tobacco Education Program says, “It can seep through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical outlets, vents, and even plumbing.”
The Urban Tobacco Education Program has been working for two years on a Community Action Model (CAM) Project educating the public on smoke-free multi-unit housing in Fresno. Pedroza says, “This program has been 100% fueled by the hard work of community advocates.” Their goal is to train emerging community leaders to change policy systems and environments to improve health. Currently, team members range in age from 17 to 27 and the program is comprised entirely of people of color.
The team’s hard work is now paying off. On September 30, the Fresno City Council passed an ordinance that will ban all forms of smoking and vaping in multi-unit housing. It includes e-cigarettes, vape, and hookah devices. However, smoking would still be allowed in designated areas. The proposal was passed by a 5-2 vote and was championed by city council members Tyler Maxwell and Nelson Esparza. The item will return for a second reading on October 14 and final ratification.
If you would like to weigh in. There will be time for public comment at the council meeting on October 14. Concerned citizens can call in or reach out to council members directly. You can also quickly sign up online and show your support: English | Spanish
To learn more about our program, visit the Fresno EOC Urban Tobacco Education webpage.