LHA to Become Smoke-Free


The Housing Authority in Lowell (LHA), Massachusetts, includes 1,896 units and from May 1 it became smoke-free, as the new anti-smoking policy was adopted. The aim of the smoke-free policy is to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure. The city authorities want to ban smoking in all state-funded public housing.

According to MaryAnn Maciejewski,  LHA Assistant Executive Director, the decision to go smoke-free was taken in order to provide healthy environment and safety to residents and workers. A the same time, LHA representatives told that it respects the needs of its residents who smoke cigarettes and will help them to link with service providers who can help them with this transition,

State Department of Housing and Community Development says that local housing authorities have no right to demand their residents to quit smoking, or limit applications to non-smokers.  In April state housing officials released special guidelines which tell about the necessity to ban smoking on all local housing authorities. The only thing they are allowed to do with smokers who want to quit  is to inform them about quit smoking programs available.

Smoking already is prohibited in state lobbies, hallways, stairways, offices, laundry and community rooms. Housing authorities in some nearby communities already became smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in Billerica’s 16 River St. Development. Besides this, in Chelmsford there are 2 housing buildings that are totally smoke-free.

It is recommended that before adopting a smoke-free policy, housing authorities should survey about it their residents. For example, in 2013 LHA made such a survey and it found that 82% of residents supported the smoke-free policy. Generally, such policy is welcomed by people as it will protect them from secondhand smoke exposure.

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