More Public Housing Units Going Smoke-Free..

September 2, 2008 - Illinois' Lake County Housing Authority is considering banning smoking in public housing units. The ban likely wouldn't go into effect until October 2008. If one is adopted, the no-smoking rule would become part of a tenant's lease, requiring smokers to take it outside like they do everywhere else. The all-important enforcement question has not been resolved.

Roughly 80 public housing authorities in 15 states from California to Maine have adopted smoke-free policies, but none so far in Illinois said Jim Bergman, director of the Smoke-free Environments Law Project based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The group works with local health departments on smoke-free issues largely focusing on apartments and condominiums. Bergman said Lake County could be the leader in Illinois if it takes this step.

THREE REASONS FOR BANS: Fire safety: Dozing smokers and butts in trash cans may be hazards; Neighbors' health: Secondhand smoke seeps into adjacent apartments and Cleaning costs: Paint, carpet repair and cleaning costs can double in a smoker's apartment. (USA Today Research) All bans forbid new tenants smoking indoors, Bergman says. Some forbid current residents smoking in their apartments, some allow them to smoke until they move out, and some set a deadline for quitting. Some ban outdoor smoking near the building.

References: Smoke ban in your home?Lake talks setting rule for public housing by Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald Staff, 8/30/2008 and Public housing kicks smoking habit by Emily Bazar, USA TODAY, 4/4/2007.