Plattsburgh Housing Authority apartments will now be a smoke free zone. They are putting a stop to indoor smoking and making it a requirement to be 25 feet from low rise buildings and 40 feet away from high rise buildings.

The new policy is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s plan to keep smoking out of housing . This past Tuesday, Plattsburgh’s Housing Authority held a town hall meeting to discuss the smoking ban. Residents had the opportunity to converse and ask questions about the plan.

“This is not a policy that says you can’t smoke. It’s a policy that says you can only smoke in certain areas,” Mark Hamilton the Executive Director of Plattsburgh Housing Authority. “This mandate was instituted for several reasons, health concerns for the individual smoking as well as those around them that get exposed, as well as the cost to the housing authority in repairs and maintenance after a family moves out.”

Tobacco is the known cause of many health issues. It even affects people who don’t take part in it with second and third hand smoke. It can also be hazardous indoors because of its high chance of causing a fire.

“Smoking is the act of inhaling, exhaling, breathing, burning, carrying, possessing or disposing of any lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, water pipe or bong, hookah or other tobacco product or similar lightened product in any manner or in any form.” According to the No-Smoking Policy draft by Housing Authority. Partaking in any form of smoking in or near apartments will result in either a fine, charge or possibly even an eviction.

The Housing Authority going smoke free was a surprise to some residents. Some believe the policy is unfair because getting off of tobacco is a challenge, and some don’t find interest in quitting. Some residents favor the policy and agree that it will benefit housing. Yet, others oppose it and think it’s unfair they can’t smoke in their own homes. In the midst of the town hall meeting talk of a gazebo over the areas smoking is allowed started. Which proposed some understanding with smokers who reside in the apartments. Plattsburgh housing would consider adding amenities to the areas, if enough people requested it.

“Bringing in a pavilion would be a great compromise and let us know they understand that we smoke. Then they can still enforce their policy.” said one of the residents, James Jackson. With the changes in weather, a gazebo could make it more bearable in rain or snow.

New signs and rules will be put up in apartments to ensure everyone starts to follow the policy. It does not officially become effective until July 30, 2018, so residents have time to adjust and find new places to smoke or possibly quit it all together. The Housing Authority understands this might be a challenge to some, but they are offering help with an onsite tobacco cessation specialist. The specialist will be there to assist the residents hoping to end their smoking habits.

Any student who lives on campus will not be affected, but those who live in the Housing Authority apartments will. Students who live on campus are already familiar with the school’s own smoking policy. Tobacco use is prohibited in all buildings, vehicles and grounds except for a limited number of designated areas, such as certain parking lots. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s policy is similar to PSCU, so it shouldn’t be anything new to off-campus students.

The Housing Authority is accessible if anyone has question or concerns about the policy. They are also available to help anyone who is interested in quitting tobacco.

Email Whitney Leonardo at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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