Bay City Housing Commission announces smoke-free housing policy - WNEM TV 5

Bay City Housing Commission announces smoke-free housing policy

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

The Bay City Housing Commission is changing its policies to make all of its properties “smoke-free”.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has mandated all public housing authorities, nationwide, must have a smoke-free policy in place by July 31, 2018.

The Bay City Housing Commission’s policy is set to become effective on May 1, 2018, at which time all units will be going smoke-free.

Bill Phillips, CEO of the Bay City Housing Commission, explained to TV5 that the commission has been moving in this direction for the last year or two, and has provided resources to help people stop smoking if they choose to do that. Phillips also said those resources will continue to be available.

MORE: State tobacco quitline offers help

Meetings have also been held to communicate the upcoming changes.

Some non-smokers have spoken out during those meetings talking about the effect their smoking neighbors have had on their homes and health.

Some residents who smoke have said they are considering relocating rather than give-up smoking on property.

"Basically, we're about to live under Hitler. That's about the bottom line," said Sandy Robson, resident. "There are a lot of people with vices that they don't quit. Nobody says a word to them, but since we're poor people we have to kiss their backsides and I don't think it's right."

"I'm paying my own bills and I think we should be able to smoke wherever the flip we want," said Katya Bartley, resident.

These Bay City smokers are mad.

"I didn't plan on moving. I've lived here for four years, but guess what? I'm moving," said Don Wolverton, resident.

James Denson smokes a pack a day.

"I understand in public areas like restaurants, bars and all that. But not in your own home," Denson said.

He knows it's not healthy.

"I lost a lung to lung cancer and I still smoke," Denson said.

Denson has tried to quit smoking, but he can't. Others have similar stories. Robson tried quitting after a triple bypass.

"I didn't smoke for about four months, but I'm telling ya, it pulls you back in," Robson said.

Bonnie Watkins said she used to smoke and she likes the new policy.

"I quit 20 years ago and you walk down the halls and it just smells like smoke. So, I'm very happy about it," Watkins said.

TV5 asked the Bay City Housing Commission about a designated smoking area, but they said it just creates another level of issues.

"It's something we could always fall back to, but right now the thinking is to move exactly the opposite way. To not allow it on the property at all," said Bill Phillips, with the housing commission.

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