Obama Administration Wants to Ban Smoking in Public Housing But Faces Backlash

Obama Smoke Young

The number of smokers in the United States has dropped drastically over the last two decades but one segment of the population still has plenty of people who smoke – poor people, many of whom live in public housing.

Additionally, there is the little old issue of freedom. Democrats claim to care about choice but they love to force the behavior of other people.

Those factors are contributing to a push back against the Obama administration’s proposed ban on smoking in public housing.

The Hill reports:

Smoking ban for public housing sparks backlash

Homeless advocates and public health officials are squaring off over a controversial Obama administration proposal to ban smoking in government-assisted housing projects.

The smoking ban has drawn praise from health officials who say it would spare non-smokers from the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke. But homeless advocates are enraged by the proposal, which they fear could force low-income residents who can’t kick the habit out of their homes.

“We are extremely concerned that this rule will create additional homelessness,” said John Lozier, executive director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
“Our primary concern about this policy is the fate of those who are unable to quit smoking and are evicted for this lease violation,” he added. “Evictions create homelessness.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which declined to comment, sent the rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget earlier this week for approval.

The smoking ban would apply to lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Residents would be prohibited from smoking not only in their homes but also in hallways, on balconies and porches and anywhere else within 25 feet of the apartment building.

It would apply to most public housing units, except those in buildings that are only partially government-funded. More than 700,000 public housing units where residents are not already prohibited from lighting up would be covered by the smoking ban.

HUD notes that the estimated 139,000 smokers living there would still be allowed to smoke when they are off-premises.

“People will not be forced to quit smoking,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association. “We will help them if they want to quit, but this is not about telling people they are no longer allowed to smoke. This is about making sure no one else is exposed to their smoke.”

But critics say the smoking ban is a “witch hunt” that would create a “de facto prohibition” in neighborhoods where there are already restrictions on smoking in public.

Of course, no one kept Obama from lighting up when he smoked.


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