Housing Rental Sector Central Housing Group

Housing Rental sector can reduce smoking harm

The private housing rental sector can help reduce smoking according to a report from Action on Smoking and Health, a pressure group.

The document – called Smoking In The Home; New Solutions For The Smokefree Generation – says smoking is now highly concentrated in some communities, particularly the rented sector.

The report finds that smoking is twice as common in social housing than in other tenures, although it is also ‘over-represented’ in the private rental sector too.

ASH says high levels of smoking in poorer communities reduces the likelihood that smokers living in those communities will successfully quit, increases the likelihood that children will be exposed to smoke in the home and that they will take up smoking themselves. As a result, smoking-related illness is much more common among both adults and children in these communities.

The report does not call for a ban on smoking in the home but rather calls for greater engagement of housing and health professionals in the communities that need the most support.

The report calls for political and media campaigns to support smoke-free homes, the delivery of advice to professionals in the housing sector – including letting agents – and special levels of support for vulnerable tenants in both private and public rental housing.

ASH also wants developers to deter smoking in new-build properties.

“This is not about a ban on smoking in homes; this is about raising awareness of the significant health inequalities of those living in some communities and recognising how we as landlords can help and support people to quit the habit” according to Lee Sugden, chief executive of Salix Homes and co-chair of the report.

Salix Homes has also been involved in a successful pilot project in Salford.

The pilot has seen over a thousand tenants provided with access to free e-cigarette starter kits and additional support to help them quit. At the end of the project, 63 per cent had quit smoking and the stop smoking services had seen four times as many people accessing support and five times as many people successfully quit.

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