Government regulators have determined that second-hand smoke is so harmful and pervasive that it’s unhealthy to allow it in restaurants, even when restaurants have segregated smokers from non-smokers. Government regulators also believe second-hand smoke is not so harmful that those living in Cumberland County’s public-housing complexes ought to be rid of it.

The Cumberland County Redevelopment Authority Board must do more to protect residents from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. Grandfathering in tenants who smoke is neither logical nor fair.

The board wants it both ways. The board readily admits second-hand smoke in public hallways and outside public-housing complexes can have harmful health effects for residents. It will not allow new tenants to smoke inside apartments or the hallways. Yet it has not extended that smoking ban to current residents who smoke.

Their logic is perplexing: Second-hand smoke is dangerous enough to ban smoking among future residents. Yet second-hand smoke is not so dangerous that it should be banned for existing tenants.

Huh?

Shirley Copenhaver, a resident of One West Apartments in Carlisle, is spearheading efforts to make her apartment complex and others like it smoke-free. She made a passionate case that smoking should be banned outright in public housing. She said the smoking situation is so bad that some elderly, ill or unhealthy tenants won’t leave their apartments because they don’t want to deal with the smoke that clogs up the halls.

If you’re living in a mostly-taxpayer-funded building, there are rules to which you must adhere. Making “No Smoking” one of those rules is the right thing to do.

The Redevelopment Authority Board should be ashamed of itself for allowing tenants to smoke inside the building. Board members have done its residents a tremendous injustice by allowing smokers to continue to jeopardize the health of nonsmokers.

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