Smoking ban begins in public housing

TAMPA, Fla. - Now may be a good opportunity to try and quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution if you live in public housing.

Starting Sunday, the Tampa Housing Authority will begin to enforce a new federal rule that goes into effect February 3rd in an attempt to make public housing smoke free.

Housing authorities can choose how to enforce the rule. The Tampa Housing Authority has said it will implement a ‘three strikes and your out rule’.

Residents at the Robles Village Park in Tampa have reluctantly been preparing for the change.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Ramon Thomas, who smokes about a half a pack per day.

“Now they say we can’t smoke cigarettes on our own porch? It’s crazy,” said Thomas.

The ban actually stretches nationwide and is approved by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Federal officials aid it will protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, especially vulnerable kids and serious.

It’s also expected to eliminate 16 million dollars a year in smoking-related fires. But residents see it from a different perspective.

“There’s going to be some problems,” said Shelia Williams, who has lived at the park for five years and is trying to quit smoking.

Williams has a problem with officials suddenly changing the rules instead of allowing current residents a chance to be grandfathered in.

“What are they going t just walk up to someone and snatch it out of their mouths?” She said.

Residents aren’t going down without a fight. Many are now passing around a petition to get the rule reversed.

Reva Iman plans to deliver the signatures to the board later this month.

“When you’re paying your bills, and you’re abiding by most of the rules here on this property, how can you tell someone you can’t smoke in your units?” said Iman.

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