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Public Housing Residents React to Proposed Ban on Smoking - KOAM TV 7

Public Housing Residents React to Proposed Ban on Smoking

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

   Joplin public housing residents wait to hear whether they will be prohibited from smoking where they live while others can't wait for a ban citing health problems. 

      The Department of Housing and Urban development wants public housing authorities to implement no-smoking policies.

There are two hundred seventy-five residents the in Joplin who would be impacted if it takes effect. 

Ed Stanscheat lights up a cigarette outside his public housing authority apartment. He's not happy about HUD’s proposed rule to ban smoking at the Housing Authority apartments on 24th street.

Stanscheat said,  "I’d probably try to quit but that’s unfair that they try to enforce such a ridiculous law. I mean we got so many pollutants from cars, trucks, plants, but that’s all ok. But a little cigarette like this is gonna cause some dangers."

But Ed's neighbors in the four plex say a ban couldn't come soon enough.

Theresa Singleton’s mother is a tenant. She said, “The big concern is that her health has gone downhill since a smoker moved in here about a year ago. It's their right to smoke but their smoking is affecting the health of other people."

Her mom, Mia Singleton has early COPD and emphysema while two others in the same four plex have asthma.

Matt Moran, director at the Housing Authority of Joplin,  says he's provided air purifiers for some but admits that can't resolve the problem.

Moran said, "They share attic space. They share wall spaces. They’re backed up to each other. There are holes. Every time you have an outlet or a switch plate, smoke is gonna find its way through."

Moran said some tenants told him they would have to move. Others,.

like Tina Hardimon who has  smoked fifty years said,"I think it would be nice. I’d try to quit. I’m happy here."

“The HUD proposed ban indicates those who smoke could do so within twenty-five feet of the public housing property. For Hardimon and other smokers, that would mean smoking in the street."

Ruth Robertson quit smoking. She and others want the ban.

She said, “I  think it will be good. I’m tired of seeing cigarette butts and I can’t stand the smell."

Cindy Goff questioned, "Where's my right to not be around a smoke filled area. Their walls all connect.  It just takes one of them, one smoker, in that four plex to make that house smell." 

Public housing residents were sent a letter in December giving them a chance to comment through January 19th.  The final rule hasn't been published, but when it is  the agency will begin enforcing it within eighteen months.

Second hand smoke isn’t the only reason behind the proposal. HUD     estimates going smoke free across the country would save 521 million dollars a year including 341 million dollars in second hand smoke related healthcare expenditures,  108 million in housing unit renovation expenses and 72 million in losses from fires attributed to smoking.

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