Federal Government Considers Smoking Ban For All Public Housing Residents

The federal government has argued the ban is necessary to protect residents from second-hand smoke, to lower building maintenance costs, and to reduce the risk of fires.
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    Millions of Americans could be banned from smoking in their own homes under controversial legislation proposed by the federal government.

    The legislation would require homes, communal areas and administrative offices on public housing land to be smoke-free, the New York Times reports.

    It is thought the changes would affect around a million homes.


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    It has argued the ban is necessary to protect residents from second-hand smoke, to lower building maintenance costs, and to reduce the risk of fires.

    But the proposal has already met with resistance from some residents who believe it would be an infringement of their right to make personal choices about their lives.

    One told the newspaper: “What I do in my apartment should be my problem long as I pay my rent.”

    Many of the country’s public housing agencies, which provide subsidised housing for people on low-incomes, have already voluntarily enforced the ban since calls for the move surfaced in 2009.

    Those living in New York City Housing Authority homes – more than 400,000 people – are expected to be among those most severely affected by a ban.

    Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, told the New York Times: “It’s a fraught process because to do it properly you need community buy-in.  To do this successfully it can’t be a top-down edict because you want people to comply with the policy.”

    The council said smoking bans have become more popular over time and that, as the number of smoking tenants has dropped, more people have come to expect smoke-free spaces.

    “This is a health equity issue,” Patrick Kwan, director of NYC Smoke-Free, added.

    “For people living in public housing and are subjected to second-hand smoke, the only option is to be at the mercy of their neighbours who smoke in their homes.

    “People who can afford it choose a smoke-free unit.  Smoke-free housing shouldn’t only be for the wealthy and privileged.”

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      • Vinny Gracchus

        Reject this draconian smoking ban. There is virtually no risk to second hand smoke despite the tobacco control propaganda used to justify the recent bans.

      • This would be very difficult to implement. The push back from addiction will be strong (and I’ve know addiction first hand). Of course if those people were not addicted, the push back would be manageable, even nonextant. To say it’s a freedom/right to smoke may be true but that’s a hypothetical in a vacuum because if people understand the value of their health in comparison to smoking (and how smoking effects those around them), they would likely have never choose to smoke. But given nicotine addiction and its advertising is irrational and rife, this law is fantasy. Plus, this effects poor people. So it’s quite discriminatory.

        I don’t see this succeeding but it would be an interesting step if the motivation was to end a leading killer of people and promote health. I doubt that’s the real motivation though.

      • I like the conclusion line ” Smoke-free housing shouldn’t only be for the wealthy and privileged.”

      • atiba1997

        Great, one more thing they get to tell poor people to do, whether they want to or not. What about the first-hand pollution they are forced to breathe in our government supported fuel-economy?? Anyone telling poor people they don’t have to breathe the cancer-causing “smoke” there? We are so concerned about poor people’s health where’s the outrage, huh?