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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Smoke-filled rooms. Not.

There was a line we always knew they'd cross eventually, and now they're starting to sneak over it. It's the line between how we must conform our public behavior and how free we are to live in peace in private:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Fort Wayne Housing Authority has approved a policy change that will prohibit smoking in all public housing units beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Residents in Fort Wayne began receiving official notifications Thursday and residents will begin signing lease addendums that are due Dec. 31.

The Smoke-Free Policy was adopted Aug. 14 by the Board of Commissioners.

The addendums include language that the head of household will agree that each member of the residence, including guests, will not smoke in the apartment, the building, or within 20 feet of the building.

This is not, not not a health issue, at least not a public health issue; I don't care how often they spout that blather. Even if you accept the most extreme expressions of the dangers of secondhand smoke, the idea that someone smoking in one apartment is a risk to someone in another apartment is too laughable to even argue with. So, OK, maybe there's an odor issue. They gonna ban cooking cabbage, too?

Certainly, it can be pointed out that people smoking in their apartments might be risking the health of themselves and the other people who live there. But why should the management of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority concern themselves with that? Answer: Because they can. It's government housing, so the government gets to make the rules, and they represent the government. Can you say "paternalism"?

Hey, Housing Authroity residents. Feeling sorry for yourselves because poverty makes you feel like you have little control over your lives? You ain't seen nothin' yet.


Lois Marquart
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 10:00am

As a non-smoker, I am certainly not an advocate for smoking, but for government agency to control this IN ONE'S OWN HOME seems unreasonable to me.  Those residents have enough problems; why add this strain to their lives?


Lois Marquart

Harl Delos
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 10:20am

First thing, they outlaw smoking while you fuel your car, and now they're trying to keep government buildings from burning down.  Hmmmph!  Next thing you know, they'll want to furlough all the firemen!

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 12:17pm

If children live in the homes, then this certainly is a public health issue. I still have severely scarred lungs at the age of 58. I've never smoked. I grew up in a house full of chain smokers.

Andrew J.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 2:24pm

Ever try to rent a unit after it was inhabited by smokers? Good luck unless you are ready to completely repaint  the place, get rid of the drapes and carpeting. The smell often is so permeated in the drywall and carpeting no amount of cleaning gets rid of it. Imagine all the tar and nicotine off the walls that needs cleaning. Just ask some of these hoarder cleanup/residential hazmat firms about the cottage industry in cleaning up vents and ductwork, for example, from residences permeated by smoke for years.

Guess you can charge the low-income tenants who smoke with a hefty damage deposit just in case you can't make the place rentable for non-smokers the next time around. Or you can have the taxpayers pick up the tab for the cleanup.


Andrew J.
Thu, 11/01/2012 - 2:33pm

"Certainly, it can be pointed out that people smoking in their apartments might be risking the health of themselves and the other people who live there. But why should the management of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority concern themselves with that?"

The housing authority should concern itself with that for the same reason it concerns itself with the fact children, other inhabitants, might be in harms way from someone who use space heaters that run the risk of carbon monxoide poisoning. Then again, cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, so it's just a slow death.

If adult tenants want to poison themselves, let them; victimless children are a whole different ballgame.


Bob G.
Thu, 11/08/2012 - 1:30pm


I make no bones about being a smoker, but in THIS case with public housing it DOES make sense...as long as they indlude ILLEGAL DRUGS in that smoking ban...(no crack, meth, or pot, right?)

Now, if we can ALSO keep these folks AWAY from the STOVES...where MOST ALL of the public-housing fires BREAK OUT in single family dwellings...!

THAT would be a GODSEND!

BTW, a stove/oven is NOT:

A- Auxiliary heating.

B- A clothes dryer.

C- Meant to be left on while you jaw-jack with your girlfriends down the street.

D- Not a toy OR punishment "device" for the toddlers.