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Auburn Housing Authority bans smoking in public housing units

Dale M Moore

There will be no more smoking inside apartments operated by the Auburn Housing Authority.

Auburn Housing Authority Director Stephanie Hutchinson says the idea for the smoking ban began when non-smokers started speaking up.

"We had received a number of complaints from tenants whose neighbors smoked, saying they could smell inside their apartment units, and they were worried for their children’s health," Hutchinson said. "And that’s where it really started."

Then a survey conducted with help from the Cayuga County Health Network showed a majority of residents supported limiting smoking at the housing complexes.
There are various extremes nationwide when it comes to banning smoking in public housing units. The state of Maine bans lighting up anywhere on subsidized housing properties, while other cities take a less strict approach.

"Some don’t allow smoking on the property at all," Hutchinson said. "Others have smoking versus non-smoking units. We decided that smoking indoors would be as far as we would want to go at this time.”

She says Auburn's ban falls somewhere in the middle.

“Smokers are still free to smoke on their porches, they’re free to smoke anywhere on the property except inside their apartment unit," Hutchinson explained. "I think we’ve come up with a reasonable compromise, which is you can continue to smoke on the property, we’re simply asking you to step outside.”

The ban goes into effect September 1, and applies to 238 public housing units.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.