As an organization that has a long track record of engaging residents in South Los Angeles to improve their quality-of-life, the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech) knows a few things about rallying residents around a just cause.
So when the possibility came for the non-profit organization to join the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research to promote smokefree apartment living in South Los Angeles, where it’s based, CDTech jumped at the opportunity.
“We have vast experience in engaging residents in the areas of public health, safety and economic development issues,” said President and CEO Benny Torres. “Smoking is a detriment on people’s health. If we can encourage smokefree living in our community, that will be an achievement we can all be proud of.”
With a mission to foster self-sufficient, healthy and secure communities for families across Los Angeles, FAME Corporations is a natural fit to be a partner to the Smokefree Apartments Los Angeles (SALA) initiative.
By joining the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in its efforts to increase access to smokefree apartments across the city, FAME believes that will improve the quality-of-life for thousands of Angelenos.
“Helping residents in high-need communities to combat exposure to unwanted, drifting secondhand tobacco smoke is a natural fit with our mission to empower communities to be healthy places,” said Denise Brown, President and CEO.
As executive director and a founder of Smokefree Air for Everyone (S.A.F.E.), Esther Schiller has dedicated much of her career to a cause that’s dear to her heart: preventing tobacco smoke from jeopardizing the health of non-smokers.
There are powerful reasons behind Schiller’s commitment, having herself been a victim of secondhand smoke, which is what drives her motivation to help others.
“I was myself injured by tobacco smoke,” she explains. “I used to sing professionally and I lost my voice because of exposure to tobacco smoke. As a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I was also subjected to breathing secondhand smoke that drifted into my classroom. This was before smoking was prohibited in the workplace. So as you can see, it’s personal for me.”
The recent public launch of Smokefree Apartments Los Angeles (SALA) consisting of a press conference that attracted much media coverage was a huge success, launching the initiative into the public arena and eliciting interest into the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.
During the April 6 press conference at FAME Gardens apartment complex in South L.A., the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the lead agency, released two studies that surveyed tenant and landlord opinions concerning secondhand smoke exposure in apartments.
In another example of how secondhand smoke is viewed as a health hazard that needs public attention, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) has adopted a policy that prohibits smoking in its apartment buildings and common areas.
Implementation of this policy began in January of this year, and residents have signed lease addendums to that effect. However, sensitive to the sudden impact of such a policy, HACLA won’t begin enforcing the smoking ban until January of 2018 to provide for a 24-month phase-in of this new policy.
As UCLA-SAFE continues to work on efforts to reduce and eliminate secondhand smoke exposure among apartment residents in Los Angeles, it has become evident that the city has a long way to go when it comes to protecting tenants from tobacco smoke where they live.
In its “State of Tobacco Control 2016” report, the American Lung Association gave Los Angeles an “F” grade in its “Smokefree Housing” category, and a “C” grade for “Overall Tobacco Control.” California as a whole “continues to fall behind other states in protecting its residents from the burden of tobacco,” the American Lung Association stated in its report.
This conclusion should sound an alarm, because tobacco-related deaths are the single, most preventable cause of death in the state. As such, the lung association notes it’s time to take action to protect residents from the deadly effects of tobacco smoke.
FAME apartment building in South Los Angeles that is now smokefree.
With a mission to foster self-sufficient, healthy and secure communities for families across Los Angeles, FAME Corporations has taken action to improve the health of the approximately 1,000 tenants who live in apartment buildings owned and operated by the organization.
Effective Jan. 1, 2016, a new policy prohibiting all types of smoking took effect at the organization’s 12 apartment buildings, according to Jazmine P. Guillen, a manager of FAME’s Tobacco Control Program.
The organization has placed no-smoking signs throughout its apartment buildings, which include 314 units. In an effort to inform residents of the new policy, FAME has placed display cases at the entrances to all the complexes with information explaining the new tobacco-free policy, as well as resources on tobacco cessation.
Kacey Lynn loves her Koreatown apartment! It is under rent control, so the rent is reasonable. It is also centrally located with easy access to mass transit, and is close to many excellent restaurants.
Unfortunately, there’s one serious problem that gets in the way of Kacey being able to use and enjoy living in her apartment. In fact, she is seriously considering moving out, a decision she dreads because of the high cost-of-living in Los Angeles. But, every day, she is exposed to secondhand smoke infiltrating her apartment from a nearby unit through windows and microscopic cracks in the walls and floor.
“I feel nauseous, and I have frequent headaches,” Kacey lamented. “Sometimes, I have to leave the apartment in the middle of the night. I also wake up to smoke and have to go outside to be able to breathe.”
Kacey is not alone! Continue reading…
James Clarke, Executive Vice President, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles
With 7,800 members and a commitment to serve more than 20,000 apartment building owners and managers, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) will play an important role in efforts to expand smokefree apartment living in Los Angeles.
Executive Vice President James Clarke understands there will be challenges. But he’s confident that through education and assistance, many apartment owners will be willing to voluntarily regulate smoking in their units under the UCLA–Smokefree Air for Everyone (UCLA-SAFE) project. Continue reading…
Skyline Village Apartments in Downtown L.A. – Smokefree Property
Antonia Noguera is a landlord who owns an apartment complex in the Crenshaw District. Like many property owners, she’s concerned about tenants who smoke, knowing it’s detrimental to their health. She also knows renters who smoke are causing her to pay higher costs to maintain her apartments, especially when she needs to prepare a unit for a new tenant.
On Oct. 22, Noguera joined dozens of other apartment owners in attending a landlord seminar sponsored by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) to hear more about how she as a landlord can regulate tobacco-use in her units.
“I want to pursue a smoking ban on my property,” Noguera said. “I care about the health of my tenants and the fact is, smoking causes cancer. A smoking ban will also help save me money.” Continue reading…