Apartments go smoke-free

To the Editor:

On May 15, Garden Court Apartments in Winnebago, a Thies and Talle Management property, will celebrate the implementation of its smoke-free housing policy.

This program began in the winter of 2013 when the management of Garden Court Apartments decided to work with Cottonwood-Jackson-Faribault-Martin-Watonwan (CJFMW) Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) to create a healthier environment for residents.

Residents of Garden Court Apartments were surveyed to determine their smoking behaviors (did they smoke, did they smoke in their apartment, did they not smoke?) and their desire to live in smoke-free housing or not. Once survey data on all properties was gathered, management decided to pass a smoke-free policy that set May 15 as the implementation date. This gave smoking tenants enough time to seek assistance for quitting or options for alternative housing.

All tenants were invited to informational meetings where the rules and process for going smoke free were presented and discussed, and tenants could voice any concerns or questions. With the target date of May 15, CJFMW SHIP offered tips on how to quit smoking, especially promoting QUIT-PLAN Services, in which smokers receive telephone-based coaching at their own pace and nicotine-replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenges).

Please join me in congratulating the residents, management and staff of Garden Court Apartments in joining the smoke-free housing movement in southwest/south-central Minnesota. We will host a reception from 2-3 p.m. May 15 at Garden Court Apartments to celebrate their success and congratulate those who have quit smoking.

Bonnie Frederickson,

public health nurse and

CJFMW community specialist

Heron Lake