Thursday, April 18, 2013

Park Apartments goes Smoke Free!

On April 1st, 2013, a smoke-free policy went into effect at Park Apartments in St. James, MN. The policy includes all units, common areas and provides provisions that exclude tobacco use within 25 feet of the building. Linda Blackstad, Executive Director for the St. James HRA/Park Apartments felt it was essential to provide education to the residents on the benefits of the new policy. "The health and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority. A smoke-free building is safer and contributes to a better living environment" she said. An educational session as held on January 16 with several residents in attendance. They were surprised to learn about the 4000-7000 toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke and want others to know they are breathing in these chemicals when around smoke.





Starting April 1st. Park Apartments in St. James are telling residents to put out their cigarettes. The adopted policy bans smoking in all apartment units. Residents will be allowed to smoke on the patio and about 25 feet from the front door.Bonnie Frederickson says, "It creates a healthier and safe living place for the residents." Frederickson is a registered nurse and now works as a community specialist with the local SHIP project. During today's workshop she explained how secondhand smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals which can affect heart and respiratory functions.

The apartment staff says they forward to this change not only for the health benefits but also because the turnover will be much faster and cheaper. They say it can cost up to $3,000 to fix up a unit if the renter was a smoker. Linda Blackstad says, "When we have a smoker who is moving out we have often have to pull the carpet, scrub all the woodwork and we paint and it gets expensive the blinds everything needs to go out."

Residents who are supportive of this policy are not only looking out for their own health, but for the health of their friends and family that visit them. Kay Lang says, "I think it's great, other people who smoke heavily, they are not going to their it's so great, but I can't worry about them. I want to make sure when my grandsons come here they aren't inhaling smoke."

In addition to the tenant education, a celebration was held to kick-off the smoke-free policy at Park Apartments in April!  Here are some photos from the event! 


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