I commend local housing authorities for implementing a smoke-free policy in all U.S. Housing and Urban Development housing units. Smoking rates are highest among low-income individuals. Residents living in subsidized housing are routinely exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke.

As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, I frequently care for children with asthma — they struggle more to breathe when exposed to secondhand smoke. This policy protects these children and other residents of multiple-family housing units from secondhand smoke exposure.

Cigarette smoke contains many poisons and cancer-causing chemicals, which pose health risks for all exposed individuals.

While this new policy will be difficult for those who smoke, the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term difficulties. Medical treatments and assistance to stop smoking are available. Anyone interesting in quitting smoking should talk to their doctor or contact the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 866-697-8487 or nysmokefree.com.

Elizabeth Murray

University of Rochester