Smoking ban infuriates local public housing residents

A smoker holds his cigarette outside Oklahoma County Courthouse in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Most public buildings are now smoke free, and smokers must smoke outside. Fifteen years after its creation, programs launched by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust have dramatically reduced tobacco use among Oklahomans. Adult smoking decreased from 28.7 percent in 2001 to 23.3 percent in 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — “I’m a smoker and I’m not going to go outside at no 12:30 at night if it’s raining to smoke a cigarette, I’m going to be honest, I’m going to smoke it inside,” said Morton Simpson Village resident Eldridge Knighton.

The White House is caused a stir with its new rules concerning a ban on smoking in public housing that has now gone into effect.

The Birmingham Housing Authority has 18 months to implement the national mandate by the Department of housing and urban development, but residents feel like there are more pressing concerns in their community than whose smoking.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of people to see this happen or go forward if they implement it because the majority of housing authority residence are smokers, you have some that’s none, but the majority of your residents are likely to be smokers,” Knighton said.

With new CEO/President Michael Lundy taking a look at new initiatives in the public housing sector, CBS42 went to Birmingham Housing Authority headquarters to get answers and spokesperson Joseph Bryant said:

“Relax, no one is going to lose their home, no one is going to be denied public housing because of these rules,” he said.

“Even in the private sector, there is a growing no smoking movement in the private sector and private sector apartments as well so this is similar to what HUD is doing as of today,” Bryant continued.

“You can talk about banning cigarettes all day, but when I’ve got a murder that just happened about a week ago, but you can’t give me a solution on how I can go to my young black men and young black women on how to put their guns down instead of killing them, I need something better than banning cigarettes, because like I said I’m not finna’ stop right now,” Knighton said.

HUD said the reason for this enforcement is for health reasons, the Birmingham Housing Authority said they will work with residents to come up with reasonable policies and accommodations to enforce smoking ban.


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