I-Team: Smoking ban in public housing takes effect Tuesday

Local News

A ban will go into effect prohibiting smokers from lighting up in public housing on Tuesday, July 31. Residents could face eviction, if they break the rule.

“I been smoking since I was 14,” said Peggy Gipson, resident.

She lives in public housing for seniors in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, smoking will be banned at all properties across the country, including hers.

“I think it is an attack against my rights,” said Lee Geiser, lives in senior housing.

Residents like Gipson and her neighbor Lee Geiser are upset about the new rule. Geiser tells 8 News Now, he’s an 84-year-old veteran who doesn’t smoke, but he’s upset about a form, he claims he was forced to sign.

Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “What did you find threatening about it?
Lee Geiser: “They threatened to evict us.”
Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “If you didn’t sign it?”
Lee Geiser: “Right.”

The ban implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states by July 31, public housing agencies are mandated to be smoke free in apartments, common areas and outdoor areas. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes can only be smoked at least 25 feet away from public housing units. In southern Nevada, electronic cigarettes  can be used within a person’s unit.

READ: Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority Smoke Free Policy

“Whenever you feel like you want a cigarette, you have to get up out your bed, off your couch and go across the street to have a cigarette,” Gipson said.

Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “Do you think the cigarette is worth it?”
Peggy Gipson: “I think they’re not going to force me to stop smoking.” 

Residents have more than three strikes within a year. The fourth time they’re caught lighting up, they get evicted.

“We have to stand here and smoke. This is ridiculous. They’re ain’t no trees here to cover the sun. I don’t know how many old people are really gonna make it out here,” Gipson said.

She says she’ll follow the rule even in 100 plus degree weather.

“Man, it’s hot out here.”

But she’ll also continue to speak out against it.

“They’re gonna die out here trying to have a cigarette in this heat. Lives matter to me, I’m sorry.”

The American Lung Association applauds this rule saying it will protect people from second-hand smoke and encourage smokers to quit.

The Housing Authority would be in charge of enforcing the ban.

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