Chester County Makes All Its Public Housing Smoke-Free

By Mike DeNardo

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — There’s a new rule for public housing in Chester County:  no tobacco use on the property.

“The health of our residents was the greatest motivator,” says Chester County Housing Authority executive director Dale Gravett.  He says his housing agency is the first in Pennsylvania to go completely tobacco-free.

“We’re not saying that you can’t smoke or use tobacco,” he notes.  “We’re just saying you can’t do it on Housing Authority property.”

Gravett says ten to 20 percent of the Authority’s 600 residents smoke, and he hasn’t heard a lot of opposition to the policy.

The Authority has offered smoking cessation classes to residents.

In addition to improving residents’ health, Gravett says, it’s an effort to increase safety and to make units more marketable.

He says violators will get warnings, and ultimately can be evicted if they don’t “butt out.”

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