In an effort to improve the health of all residents, MDHA offers smoking cessation classes each week at all high-rise residential buildings and nearly 100 residents have already started to attend a class. For more information on MDHA's smoking cessation classes please contact the social services coordinator for your property
Parthenon Towers is currently the only MDHA owned residential building that is smoke-free beginning September 2012, however the agency is considering implantation of the policy at other properties. Common areas within the buildings are already smoke-free. Under the new policy at Parthenon Towers, new tenants are required to use a designated smoking area and are not be allowed to smoke inside individual apartments. Current tenants will be required to begin following the new policy in September 2012, when lease renewals are initiated.
The policy change is supported by the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Agency who, in July 2009, issued a memorandum strongly encouraging Public Housing Authorities to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units.
According to a June 2010 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, a resident who smokes in a single unit within a multiunit residential building puts the residents of the other units at risk because tobacco smoke can move along air ducts, through cracks in the walls and floors, through elevator shafts, and along plumbing and electrical lines to affect units on other floors. Secondhand smoke is identified by the Centers for Disease Control, Surgeon General and Environmental Protection Agency as a serious health hazard.
A report from the Metro Nashville Department of Health found four of the top five causes of death for Davidson County residents for 2008 are related to smoking: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory disease. In 2009, 20.4% of Nashville adults were smokers.
At Parthenon, all residents and guests who wish to smoke may use a covered outdoor smoking shelter located at least 30 feet away from the building's entrance.
MDHA is the first large public housing agency to consider implementation of a smoke-free facility policy in Tennessee.