To the Editor:
As a commissioner of the Hull Housing Authority, I would like to address a serious problem in the family and elderly housing in Hull.
Unfortunately, I and others have some serious respiratory issues, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other illnesses. These problems are exacerbated by second-hand smoke.
In 2016, I and a few others talked to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials and got smoking banned in all the family and elderly apartments. Now, in 2022, the director and the Hull Housing Authority commissioners have said that this is not enforceable in any way.
I and Jim Richmond are the only ones on the board who consider this outrageous. There are members in the community who are sick from second-hand smoke and have allergies to smoke and suffer from asthma and COPD; some are on oxygen. Oxygen and smoking can cause a fire. The family units had a huge fire not too long ago, causing an extensive bill to the Hull Housing Authority.
People who are ill from second-hand smoke have the right (according to HUD) to sue the housing authority for allowing second-hand smoke to make people ill.
We owe our elderly, our children, and those with chronic illness a safe shelter that does not include second-hand tobacco smoke. When we adopt a smoke-free policy, we have a rare opportunity to do what is right while saving money and preventing lawsuits. It is not only legal to prohibit smoking in public and HUD-assisted housing but it also protects against lawsuits from tenants exposed to second- hand smoke.
Please support us in our effort to ban smoking in non-smoking buildings.