Houston Housing Authority bans smoking in public housing units

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HOUSTON, TX – The Houston Housing Authority is cleaning up the air, at least in its public housing properties.

Starting in March, residents have to stop smoking in agency-owned apartments, on patios, or within 25 feet of apartment front doors.

“In elderly buildings, smoke from one unit can travel to the other units through the ventilation systems, so people were actually getting second hand smoke in their units. And so we are particularly concerned about the health impacts on the elderly, the disabled and the children,” said Tory Gunsolley, President & CEO of the Houston Housing Authority.

Residents in 6,000 Houston Housing Authority units will be affected, but how will the policy be enforced?

“As it escalates, we will then provide smoking cessation and reminders of the policy, but ultimately somebody could be evicted for not following the lease,” explained Gunsolley.

You can’t smoke in your own place??

Niceli Jones, a Cuney Homes resident said, “People got problems, people got stress, I’m not fixing to have all that.  I got to smoke.”

“I do have an 11-year-old son and he lets me know that the neighbor’s smoking, or he can smell the smoke, so  I’ve been informed about the smoking from my son, so I can understand from a child’s point of view,” according to ‘Cookie’ Gibson, who also lives in Cuney Homes.

Assata-Nicole Richards, Houston Housing Authority Vice Chair said, “One’s individual right does not supersede the good and the right of quality and healthy environments for everybody.”

Depending on which side of the smoke screen you choose to stand on, this new policy could be breath of fresh air, or could leave you out in the cold.

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