The Erie Housing Authority is considering a ban on smoking in all of its 14 public housing neighborhoods. Before making any decisions, they asked residents of public housing what they think about the idea. The smoking question was part of an annual safety survey mailed to about 2,000 tenants.
"We didn't know what to expect," said authority executive director, John Horan. One of the questions asked was if anyone in the household smokes. Of the 1,000 surveys returned 31% say they do have a smoker in the house. Opinions on a ban were split 50-50.
Horan says, because of health concerns, the federal department of Housing and Urban Development is pushing for the ban, but there is no legislation requiring it. Of the 3200 public housing authorities nationwide, only a handful have put a ban in place. The Erie Housing Authority expects to make a decision sometime in the next year, but say the issue is not a high priority. They could decide to take no action, ban smoking in common areas, or ban it all together.