By Justin Udo, Alexandria Hoff
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Housing Authority will no longer allow smoking outside of designated areas in their public housing developments, a decision that came down Thursday.
PHA officials say the purpose of this policy is to eliminate problems caused by smoking and second-hand smoke.
“The resolution, once implemented, bans smoking inside of PHA’s units and developments as well as any and all PHA administrative offices,” explains PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah.
Jeremiah says this new rule applies to their newly constructed and newly renovated properties:
“We wanted to balance the desire to be smoke free with a whole host of programs that allows families if they so choose, to stop smoking.”
Officials say if tenants repeatedly continue to smoke in non-smoking areas they can be evicted. However an overwhelming majority of their residents, Jeremiah says, are happy for this change:
“This is an important milestone for Philadelphia. We are now the largest housing authority in the country to have banned smoking.”
He adds they will have designated smoking areas set up outside of the properties and they’ll also offer programs to help residents who want to stop smoking quit.
JoEllen Rollins says she has been smoking in her city-owned home for 20 years and isn’t happy with the idea of stopping:
“They should not have the authority to tell you that you can’t smoke in your home. That’s just like them telling you you can’t turn on the fire on your stove.”
Rollins is among 80,000 residents impacted by the ban.
Philadelphia now has the largest public housing ban on indoor smoking in the country. It goes into effect on August 5th.