On October 1, Joshua Arms of LSSI Senior Residence implemented a smoke-free policy, which will make its building healthier and safer by preventing smoking inside of the facility. To commemorate the occasion, Joshua Arms, located at 1315 South Rowell Avenue in Joliet, hosted a smoke-free celebration early Monday.
The Will County Health Department presented a special certificate to Joshua Arms in recognition of its smoke-free status. Celebration participants included: John Cicero, executive director of the Will County Health Department, representatives from the Health Department’s Tobacco Control and Prevention initiative, and April Bailey, Mission Services Manager for the American Lung Association’s Tobacco program. Residents were urged to share their personal stories regarding the new policy. People who shared their stories received a special smoke-free tee shirt.
Joshua Arms, a program of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), is a senior living facility with 242 units, including a supportive living program. On January 24, 2011, there was an apartment fire in the building caused by a resident who was smoking. The water damage caused by the sprinkler system forced everyone to evacuate the building, and residents were not able to begin moving back into their apartments until after March 22, 2011.
Smoke-free housing policies are trending throughout the country due to the many benefits available through implementing a smoke-free environment. By creating a 100 percent smoke-free environment, landlords can protect residents from excessive exposure to second-hand and third-hand smoke. Additionally, a smoke-free housing policy can reduce resident risks, such as a lit cigarette as a fire hazard. Finally, evidence shows that most people prefer living in a smoke-free environment. Because 80.4 percent of Will County residents do not smoke, most individuals wish to protect themselves and their families from the potential damage caused by a smoke-filled home.
The Will County Health Department Tobacco Control & Prevention (TC&P) program commends Joshua Arms for taking this initiative. It is admirable that its building managers took a negative experience as an opportunity to positively affect their residents, guests and staff in the future. The TC&P program is encouraged by the success of Joshua Arms, and we urge others to research the many benefits of going smoke-free. We are hopeful that other Will County tenants and landlords recognize the importance of living in a smoke-free environment.
For landlords who are interested in making their facilities smoke-free or tenants who are interested in learning about the benefits of renting smoke-free, visit Will County Health Department or telephone Will County Tobacco Control & Prevention at 815-727-8769.