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New Philadelphia Housing Policy Puts The Squeeze On Smokers

By Jan Carabeo, Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting today, a new no-smoking policy will begin being enforced at all PHA properties. No smoking will be allowed inside or outside, except in designated areas. Current residents found violating the new rules will be given information about quitting and will be asked to attend counseling sessions.

A property owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, where a smoking ban went into effect on Wednesday, August 5th. (Credit: CBS3)

Anyone who moves into a PHA unit after today will face eviction after four violations.

Philadelphia is the largest city to enact such a rule after the PHA Board voted unanimously in favor of the ban. A poll of residents shows 55% support it.

Still, some residents oppose the rule, saying it violates their rights.

For many, including long-time smoker JoEllen Rollins, this is a hard habit to kick.

“I’ve been smoking since I was 18 years old,” she says, holding a cigarette in her right hand and relaxing on her armchair. Despite the new ban on smoking in her city-owned home, she says she doesn’t plan on quitting now. She’s been lighting up in her living room for close to two decades.

“They still shouldn’t have the authority to tell you that you can’t smoke in your own home,” she says. “That’s like telling you that you can’t turn on the fire on your stove!”

PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah says the goal is to get smokers to quit. “Ultimately, our goal is not to be punitive. Our goal is to help our families live in good environments and frankly just stop smoking,” he says.

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