Springfield Housing Authority Implements Full Smoking Ban

As of this week, residents of Springfield, Massachusetts living in the city’s nearly 2,500 public housing units have to leave their building and its premises if they want to smoke a cigarette. That’s because the Springfield Housing Authority is fully implementing its smoking ban — extending the indoor ban put in place last year to prohibit smoking anywhere on the property.

The process began around three years ago with a questionnaire asking public housing residents what they thought about smoking in and around their apartments. Executive Director of the Springfield Housing Authority William Abrashkin says around seventy percent of residents who responded said they didn’t think smoking on the premises was a good idea.
“Even people who reported they were smokers themselves, interestingly enough, reported that they would prefer a smoke free environment.”

Starlett Sutton lives next door to the Springfield Housing Authority’s Saab Street apartments. She says she was considering moving to Saab Street until she heard they were about to prohibit smoking indoors and on all building grounds — including porches and parking lots. Sutton says making lifelong smokers stray far from their homes in cold weather could lead to more short-term illnesses.

“The flu, the cold, pneumonia, just to be out smoking. Especially the elderly — and it isn’t easy for them to stop. Even if a doctor tells them to stop, they ain’t gonna stop.”

But Abrashkin says the ban is intended to protect non-smoking residents — especially children — from second hand smoke. He adds the ban will also save the agency money in the long run. Abrashkin says it costs around two-thousand dollars less to get smoke-free units ready for new tenants than to fix up apartments occupied by smokers.