public housing smoking ban will work, but is it fair?

The federal government  thinks smoking in public housing should be banned.

The Department of Housing has proposed that smoking be banned inside or even out within 25-feet of any home when it comes to public housing.

Some smokers, like Norman Bearden, tells News Channel 5, they do not like the plan.

He said he understands a smoking ban in high rise towers, like in Nashville, but he added he doesn’t understand it for someone like him who wants to smoke on his own front porch.

“Well you can see that you, you’re here, outside,” Bearden said. “You’re not in a closed building where that smoke can maintain there, and you can smell it.  I agree with that. There’s a difference. There’s a big difference.”

The federal proposal would also ban smoking in common areas and offices of any public housing development. No word has been released on how soon the proposal could go into effect.

Smoking Bans Work

Banning smoking across all public housing will reduce smoking and likely reduce the incidence of smoking-related illnesses.

2010 systematic review of 37 studies found that smoke-free policies in workplaces, public areas, and the like reduce tobacco use by 3.4 percentage points,on average, and increase the percentage of people quitting smoking by 6.4 points.

Another systematic review that same year from the Cochrane Review found more limited evidence on smoking rates, but did conclude that smoking bans reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

A 2011 study comparing Indiana University in Bloomington — which adopted a whole campus smoking ban in 2008 — with Purdue University in West Lafayette found that smoking dropped significantly in Bloomington but not at Purdue, even though enforcement was lax.

“It would be very difficult to estimate the number of lives a policy like this will save, although the answer is likely to be at least some,” Kenneth Warner, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan and an expert on tobacco control policies, says. “Likely the largest life savings would be associated with encouraging smoking residents of the facilities to quit smoking.”