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Posted on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti Housing Commission to ban smoking in its units

By Tom Perkins

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission will soon institute a smoking ban in its units.

The new policy is an effort by the YHC to improve health and safety conditions in its housing stock, as well as reduce maintenance costs.

It's the first housing authority in Washtenaw County to implement such a program. The policy will become effective on or before May 1.

YHC Executive Director Walter Norris said the data presented to the commission by the Washtenaw County Public Health Department, which has advised the YHC on the policy, overwhelmingly indicates that the policy will benefit residents.


The Ypsilanti Housing Commission

Tom Perkins | For

“Second-hand smoke has a real negative impact on the residents and for those who come into contact with it,” he said. “It is a sort of an umbrella health concern. Smoking cigarettes secondarily affects others, and HUD has determined that it is appropriate to have a non-smoking policy.”

Those residents who are already smokers will be exempt from the new policy unless they choose to switch units, in which case they won’t be allowed to smoke in their new unit. They will be the only tenants allowed to smoke in their home.

Norris said there will be designated smoking areas outdoors where residents can smoke and dispose of their butts. Setting up signage for the areas and providing receptacles for the butts will be the only cost to the Housing Commission.

The ban will be enforced on a complaint basis, Norris said. If someone reports their neighbor is smoking, then there could be an investigation.

If it is discovered that a tenant is smoking, the Housing Commission would provide a written warning. If the smoking continued, then the eviction process could be initiated, Norris said.

Aside from the health issues, Norris said the YHC incurs maintenance costs because of a film left on walls by the smoke, and burn marks on carpets and other parts of the units are an issue.

He added that the cigarettes are a fire hazard.

“There is a potential threat for safety, not only for a resident who is smoking, but to those in homes where there may not be any smoking,” Norris said. “A fire can run very rampant through a building.”

Norris said HUD, which provides funding to the housing agencies, is encouraging housing commissions to adopt a no-smoking policy. He said the Housing Commission is communicating the changes to its tenants and the Washtenaw County Public Health Department will assist those residents who want to quit smoking.

According to the Health Department, in 2010, the Michigan Department of Community Health received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to encourage smoke-free housing. Washtenaw County is one of several Michigan counties participating in the "Michigan Smoke Free Apartment Initiative" and assisting property owners in voluntarily adopting smoke-free policies.



Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Wait a minute, they can't stop drug use or sales, but now they have moved onto cigarettes? Okay will good luck with THAT!!!!


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

All I can say is best of luck. It would be helpful if programs were available to help tenants achieve that goal.Occasionally U of M has research studies available to participate in that will help you to become a non smoker. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Not a smoker, but I'm old enough to remember when smokes were $.50 a pack.Seriously smoking now could cost more than a utility bill. Not to mention it could lessen your quality of life. ( If you make it that far ) Had a former girlfriend who only made it to 43. So sad. Chances are your children may pick up the habit too. Enough said.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

When oh when are we going to ban people from smoking in their cars with children in them. I find the bans on bars that have a minimum age of 18, the same age to buy cigarettes, pretty ridiculous because an adult can choose where to work, or where to go to have a drink. let the free market steer that. But a child, belted down in a 6' x 5' sealed compartment has no choice about being exposed to second hand smoke. BTW, what happens if someone has a &quot;card&quot; and is smoking their medicine?


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

This is good. The more places that ban smoking, the better. I'm sick of paying out money for a habit that causes untold millions to be spent on healthcare. Narrowing down where smoking is acceptable helps to fight this disgusting and highly addictive habit. It's not easy to quit, but it's possible.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

Maybe we should ban hair sprays, perfume and peanuts, because they are known to be dangerous. This is the height of hypocrisy


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

ferdcom, actually a lot of them linger for a long time, just using special equipment to breath and keep their organs going. Not to mention the second hand smoke damage that they have done to those around them. And then there is the agony of their loves ones watching them slowly die over the years. Not a pretty picture.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

While smokers cost more in healthcare dollars while they're alive, they die younger than non-smokers, saving untold millions in healthcare, nursing home, and social security dollars.

Chase Ingersoll

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

You want to live on a tax payer financed, Socialist commune, then you have to live by the rules of the commune. If you look at the data I provided yesterday on the population most likely to be injured or killed by residential fires, 40% of which are caused by smoking, this is a no brainer. Sometimes even the Socialist commune can get it right. Now what happens if one of the residence has a medical marijuana card? Chase Ingersoll

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

in ann arbor residents were notified if they have the card+POSESS m.j. its eviction time.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

Since we are at it, the housing units are probably full of formaldihyde (sp), and there are plastic bags everywhere - probably dangerous as well. Lets just tear the place down - That will truly solve the problem at hand !!!!


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

I guess you would arrest them. This violates federal law. Federal law always trumphs state law.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

I am wondering what color shirts the Smoking Nazi's will wear Brown or Black?


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

@Gorc - Enforcement should be easy. One violation and you get evicted.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

will there be cameras in peoples bathrooms?


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Good luck enforcing this one.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

Somehow, hundreds of landlords around the city have been able to enforce smoking bans for years.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

Great news!! Now the residents can stop using their Bridge Card for ciggs and use it for their beer.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

@Enso I wish I could vote for your post a million times. Of course the execs love when we decry the decadence of the masses so we can feel vaguely superior to them, while still grasping at the impossible dream that we'll bootstrap our way to riches.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

@enso---are you kidding??? Have you not read the reports in the local papers that detail the rampant abuse of Bridge Cards? The estimate is upwards of 50% of these cards being used for purchases other than what was intended.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

Never? I have seen it myself: To the cashier: 'Hey, I'll buy YOU some pop (or something I CAN buy) and you buy me some cigs.' I don't see if often, but I do see it. Quite frankly, it is easier to just sell the cards: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Or use them after you win a million $ in the lottery: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> So, I guess that guy isn't &quot;broke&quot; - in fact he is one of those millionaires!


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Doesn't happen. And if it does, it's exceedingly rare. Instead of worrying about how broke families use your tax dollars, why don't you worry about something that's really effecting you, like the way millionaire corporate executives are using your tax dollars to screw you twice over.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Are you Kidding? This is News? This commission is in trouble for not taking care of the money or reporting properly to HUD and this puff piece is supposed to make us feel better about it? No smokeing? They are just getting around to 'no smoking?' Its 2012 for the love of pete! AHHHHHH! Heres a question: you talk about this commission having 218 units, 26 designated as Sr. Housing. They also administer the section 8 vouchers in the City of Ypsilanti - how many of THOSE are there?


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

It's the first housing authority in Washtenaw County to implement such a program. They are ahead of every other housing authority in Washtenaw County for pete's sake! Better late than never! Every public housing unit in the county should be no smoking.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 10:19 a.m.

2nd hand car exhaust is bad for ppl too. So let's ban cars too. Oh &amp; don't give me that &quot;I have no choice I have to drive a car&quot; No there are alternatives to polluting MY air with your EVIL 2nd hand car exhaust!


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Pretty soon they going to ban passing Gas and bad breath, because it is bad for your health. I have a wonderful idea- why don't the pie in the sky A2 residents live in Ypsi. That is the new utopia - as you know.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Ridiculous indeed! So ridiculous you can't even call it a comparison! 2nd hand smoke should not be the issue here. It is as stated... maintenance costs because of a film left on walls by the smoke, and burn marks on carpets and other parts of the units are an issue cigarettes are a fire hazard You want to smoke where you live? Buy YOUR OWN home!!!

Mark Hergott

Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

Why the hell are you running your car inside a public housing unit? Of all the comparisons you can cite, this one is pretty ridiculous.