Smoking ban angers Public Housing residents

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — In July of 2012, an apartment fire forced residents to evacuate the Brush Creek Apartments in Kansas City. Smoking caused the fire.

“A smoker dropped a cigarette, his unit caught on fire and that caused a lot of problems for a lot of people,” Edwin Lowndes said, executive director for the Housing Authority of Kansas City.

Lowndes said the fire displaced more than eight residents and cost the Housing Authority $100,000. Now, on July 1, 2014, all Housing Authority properties must be smoke-free.

“We found that a smoker, his smoke does not stay in his unit or in the building, it goes and affects everywhere, everyone in the entire building,” Lowndes said.

In November 2012, HAKC met with the Mid-America Regional Council of Kansas City and the Health
Department to survey residents and facilitate a public forum on smoke-free housing.

About 45 percent of residents in HAKC properties are smokers with a large percentage of respiratory issues including asthma. This smoking ban would affect about 1,700 households, and it’s not sitting well with many of those residents.

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