Far too often, no one pays much attention to how smoking affects their – or their loved ones’ – overall health. As long as they don’t have lung cancer, many people overlook the other health problems caused by smoking, including heart disease and stroke.
DaShe’ Frieson made strides to change all of that.
As a Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, DaShe’ put more emphasis on how dangerous both smoking and secondhand smoke are. That included working with multi-unit housing managers to institute smoke-free policies at their complexes, which eliminates secondhand smoke among units to protect tenants of all ages, employees and visitors.
Both smoking and secondhand smoke can cause cancer, heart disease and other conditions. No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women, babies and children.
“Children are why I’m so passionate about smoke-free housing,” says DaShe’, who has a master’s degree in public health. “Children have no say so in where they live or who their neighbors are.”
The health department first began working with the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, which as of May 2015 is totally smoke free. Vistula Management properties also are going smoke free, as are other housing complexes in Lucas County.
Being smoke free does not mean residents, visitors and employees must quit. Designated smoking areas are provided for those who want to continue smoking.
Oblate Residences in south Toledo, for example, has two marked patio areas where people can smoke. One has walls on every side to prevent smoke from drifting into parking areas and buildings, while the other has two walls to block drifting smoke.
For housing complex residents who do want to quit smoking, the health department’s Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists can help whether they are insured or uninsured. Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists help their clients develop a personalized quit plan.
Residents often told DaShe’ how they started smoking as teens decades ago or other stories about how they became addicted, all of which can be overcome.
“Any addiction can be broken – any addiction,” DaShe’ says. “It’s a mental thing.”
In Lucas County, smoking rates are especially high for African Americans and low-income residents. Here’s a look at smoking rates in Lucas County.