Lungs For Life

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Though smoking is a prevalent issue among the homeless population, it is rarely addressed. Many factors predispose homeless individuals to nicotine addiction, and the underserved often do not have sufficient medical care or the strong support base that is critical to kicking the habit. The Suitcase Clinic, a student-run volunteer organization serving the homeless in the East Bay, aims to launch a project called Lungs for Life. They intend to treat the health related issues associated with smoking and create a social network to empower clients to successfully quit. The project has three main components: asthma/COPD screenings; treatment through prescription inhalers; and weekly, student-run support groups supplemented with nicotine replacement. Lungs for Life will establish monthly screenings for respiratory issues and secure more funding for inhalers and diagnostic tools, creating tailored client plans for asthma control. Lungs for Life will institute student-run support groups to not only provide important health information, but also offer an open space for clients to express their hardships and reach out to one another. The enactment of a smoking cessation program will mark Suitcase Clinic’s pioneer effort to expand services beyond acute treatment and into long-lasting care.