BY JAMES HARPER
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged housing authorities since 2009 to adopt smoke-free housing.
The assistant deputy director of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority confirmed this week to the Daytona Times that a smoking ban goes into effect Oct. 1 at all of its residences.
Housing Authority residents living in Windsor and Maley Apartments, Palmetto Park, Caroline Village, Northwood Village, Walnut Oak, Villages at Halifax, Lakeside Village, and Pine Haven will no longer be able to spoke inside of their units.
Warnings, then eviction
Mae Frances Davis said smoking will only be allowed 20 feet away from the buildings.
She also noted that new potential public housing clients who are smokers, who meet all regular requirements, will still be able to move into their residences.
“The (application) policy will be same for all – no discrimination,” she said.
Davis said those caught smoking in unauthorized areas will be given three warnings before they are subjected to be evicted.
She said there will be regular inspections of units to determine if smoking has occurred in them.
Davis said residents interested in quitting smoking are being referred to the Health Department, which has programs and aids for those interested in quitting.
She said residents have known since March 2012 that a smoking ban was going to be instituted this year.
According to information obtained from the HUD website, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Lung Association are joining together to protect everyone living in federally assisted multifamily housing from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Since 2009, HUD has strongly encouraged public housing agencies to adopt smoke-free buildings to protect the health of residents, and now urges federally assisted multifamily property owners to go smoke-free.
The website also noted: “There is no constitutional right to smoke. Claims to the contrary have no legal basis. … No court has ever recognized smoking as a protected fundamental right nor has any court ever found smokers to be a protected class. … So long as a smoking regulation is rationally related to a legitimate government objective such as protecting public health or the environment, the regulation will be upheld as constitutional.”
According to the site, smoke-free housing benefits landlords and managers as well. It reduces fires caused by smoking. In 2007, over 140,000 fires were started by cigarettes, cigars and pipes in the U.S. causing $530 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Smoke-free housing also saves on property maintenance costs from cleaning and painting stained walls and ceilings and repairing burn marks left by smoking. Less damage means less expense to get a unit ready for a new resident.