Houston Public Housing Banned Smoking


The Houston Housing Authority has adopted a smoke-free policy as an attempt to reduce the consequences of direct or secondhand tobacco exposure.  Starting from January, smoking is banned at a number of agency’s public housing and tax credit properties throughout the city.

So residents are prohibited from smoking inside their units, in public places, in offices and within 25 feet of main entrances.  In Houston Housing Authority do live 5,500 families and the new policy touches not only them but also guests and agency workers.

The American Department of Housing and Urban Development was waiting since 2010 for the policy to be implemented and all this time it was encouraging public housing agencies to adopt it.

Tory Gunsolley, the housing authority president and CEO, told that today science managed to show that firsthand, secondhand and thirdhand smoke have negative effects on health. This information should be spread among population. Also smoking cessation programs should be more accessible for everyone.

Now residents must sign lease amendments that contain the new anti-smoking policy, which comes into action from April 1,  In 2013, the agency’s board also decided to make all new housing developments smoke-free.  Gunsolley told that this initiative met opposition.

There was organized a meeting in which participated the resident leaders and authorities. They discussed the new anti-smoking initiative and the authorities told that asthma rates in the inner city areas are high enough and secondhand smoke aggravates this condition. The best way to stop this is to eliminate secondhand smoke in the units.

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