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Friday Feud: Should smoking be banned in social housing?

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24dash - The UK's most up-to-date social housing and public sector news website

Friday Feud: Should smoking be banned in social housing?


Published by Anonymous for in Health and also in Housing

Friday Feud: Should smoking be banned in social housing? Friday Feud: Should smoking be banned in social housing?

Max Salsbury, 24housing’s resident smoker, flicks his ash into the ashtray of discussion.

Over in America (the United States of) smokers who find themselves living in social housing (or social housing dwellers who find themselves smoking) are coming under the giant extinguisher of bureaucracy.

Going live this September, tobacco-inclined tenants of the Auburn Housing Authority in New York will be required to take their fiery pleasure sticks out into the cold night air. What a drag.

Sunia Zuterman, executive director of the Washington-based Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, no less, had the temerity to say "this is all a convergence of thinking," which sounds as ridiculous as it does chilling. 'A convergence of thinking' indeed!

Zuterman's cack-handed babble aside, the AHA's chiding of the smoking community follows a trend across the continent.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is currently considering outlawing smoking in some of its homes; and the Albany Housing Authority also adopted anti-nicotine measures.

In February, the San Diego Housing Commission Blaired things up for smokers by banning the activity in its residences.

And 2012 blaze in a Kansas City public housing tower block that caused $250,000 in damage fired up authorities for a ban that went into effect on 1 July for the 2,000 apartments run by the Housing Authority of Kansas City.

AHA's Stephanie Hutchinson has attempted to soothe her tenants (in distinctly un-Zuterman language): "We're not asking people to quit smoking. We're simply asking them to go outside when they do. We spoke briefly about making the properties 100% smoke free — a lot of affordable housing complexes do that. We weren't ready to enforce something like that or make a move like that. And we didn't think our tenants would be ready for something like that."

So, that's all well and good for America, but what about over here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but Probably not Scotland?

As a tobacco fan, I was outraged when smoking was banned in pubs. Today, I'm still outraged but I can see the sense in it. On balance, it’s a good thing.

However, if I lived in social housing (I don't. I live in a shed) how would I feel if my landlord told me I had to go outside in all weathers to partake in smoky pleasures?

An Englishman's home is his cliché, sorry, castle, but social housing...well, in the strictest sense it doesn't actually belong to the tenant, does it? Someone else may be moving in at some point, so is it fair to gum up the walls with tobacco residue?

Having said that, isn't it the same if you're a homeowner? People sell their houses, don’t they; so should a residential smoking ban be applied across the board?

So, should social housing tenants be barred from having fun in their homes?

I dunno, so you'll have to decide. Please feel free to have a protracted and bitter debate in the comments section below.


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