As of April 2017, 90 California cities and counties had adopted smoke-free multi-unit housing (MUH) policies, protecting nonsmokers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Healthy Air Vallejo, an initiative of Fighting Back Partnership coordinated through the Vallejo Community Change Coalition, is attempting to follow that trend by adopting a similar ordinance in Vallejo. Of Vallejo residents 18 years and older, 21.5% report suffering from asthma which is nearly double the state average yet there are no smoke-free apartment units in the city. Staff and committee members are actively educating community groups about the benefits of smoke-free housing and partnering with low-income apartment complexes to educate tenants and managers and gather public opinion data.
Alix Winston, a LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer and resident of Vallejo, is a committee member of Healthy Air Vallejo, the committee behind the smoke-free MUH initiative. At the committee’s most recent health fair at Solano Vista Senior Apartments, Alix presented to 20 residents about the targeted marketing strategies of the tobacco industry to create an understanding of why people smoke and remove the stigma attached to it, but also make them aware of how secondhand smoke affects residents in their homes. She then highlighted the immense health equity issues regarding asthma rates and access to smoke-free living environments for people living in low-income communities and communities of color. Residents were then shown how to advocate for a smoke-free housing policy in their community which was met with great questions and enthusiasm.
If you would like to know more about the Healthy Air Vallejo campaign and get involved, contact Annabelle Prasad, Prevention Coordinator at (707) 651-7175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Alix” Alexandra Winston is a Policy Specialist with the Alameda County Tobacco Control Program and has been with the program for one and a half years. She has been working in Tobacco Control for the past four years. Previously, Alix was an Advocacy Manager at American Lung Association in their Bay Area office. Since she has worked in Tobacco Control, Alix has worked on more than twenty successful tobacco control policies including: smoke-free multi-unit housing, tobacco retail licensing and zoning, flavor regulations, minimum pack-size, electronic nicotine delivery device restrictions, tobacco 21, tobacco-free pharmacies, and smoke-free outdoor air regulations. Furthermore, Alix has coordinated the Alameda County Tobacco Control Coalition for the last 4 years, building its membership, committees, and capacity to a list of more than 300 members with about 60 core members. She graduated with honors with a BA in Organizational Development and Leadership from Eckerd College in her hometown of St. Petersburg, FL. She currently resides in Vallejo, CA with her husband Will, and her four children Lars, Aila, Isabell, and Arwynn.
The LOOP Team would like to thank Alix for her diligent work educating citizens and advocating for smoke-free multi-unit housing in the Bay Area!