Local public housing residents respond to U.S. government's ban on smoking indoors

Dayton resident Juanita Hanley makes a trip to her car several times a day now because of a new policy keeping her from smoking in her home. (Image: WTVC)

Smoking is a choice, but now where you do it is not. The federal government is telling some people they can't light up in their own homes.

On Tuesday, we spoke with people who live in public housing where a new policy is going in place.

Smokers are upset about the policy because not only can you not smoke inside, but they also can't smoke on their porches. They have to be several feet away from the home and for some, that means being on the street.

Signs are popping up in public housing complexes across the country. By the end of July, the federal government is requiring all of them be smoke-free.

"If I can say it - it sucks. Literally," says Dayton resident Juanita Hanley.

Hanley makes a trip to her car several times a day now in order to smoke.

"I just can't seem to quit. I've tried and I've tried."

Hanley's neighborhood in Dayton implemented the no-smoking policy last month, forcing her to leave her apartment to smoke.

"In no way are we saying they have to stop smoking. It's just making all of our properties smoke-free," says Lisa Bonadio with Dayton Public Housing.

Bonadio says in the past, it's been hard to flip one of these houses once a smoker moves out.

"The damage to the apartment is really pretty serious for the nicotine that builds up in the apartment."

She says eliminating those repairs will save taxpayers money.

Not to mention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the move will eliminate costs related to healthcare due to secondhand smoke.

Rhonda Harmon lives in Chattanooga's public housing. "People's kids have asthma. They get sick," says Harmon.

She says smoke bothers her 14-year-old daughter.

"She would have a really bad asthma attack and I would have to take her to the ER."

Many other housing authorities in our viewing area told us they implemented before the deadline as well. Chattanooga implemented their non-smoking policy back in January.

The Dayton Housing Authority says the money saved not having to pay for repairs would go back to the residents.

For example, there's a program that needs funding next month to provide backpacks to kids going back to school.

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