The Greenville Housing Authority is working with the Pitt County Health Department to implement a new smoke-free policy at all of their housing sites.
There is going to be a huge change for a lot of people living in housing authority sites.
Starting April 1st, 2018, all sites will adopt a smoke free policy for every type of smoking.
This is all to be in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new smoke free housing rule.
The city is partnering with Pitt county health officials because they know this isn’t going to be easy for some.
Some people are upset with the new enforcement, some don’t really have an opinion and others said it could be a good thing.
“It’s not right that we can’t smoke,” said one resident who did not wish to be identified. “You pay your rent and you can’t smoke where you pay your rent at.” “It’s just not fair and it’s not right.” “I don’t feel like you should stop people from smoking in their homes if they pay their rent.” “If you’re at your home, you should be able to do what you want to.”
While others who live on Roundtree Drive said it will be a good change for their health, especially for the children.
“For smoking around the kids and stuff no it’s a no-no,” said another resident who did not wish to be identified. “That’s bad, that’s wrong because you are not showing the children the right way.”
The health department will provide educational sessions and technical assistance for residents.
A driving factor behind this is because second hand smoke exposure and tobacco use are the leading preventable causes of illness and premature death in the United States, not stopping at just tobacco.
“E-cigarettes are becoming a bigger problem,” said Allyson Moser, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for the Pitt County Health Department. “So typing that in to all tobacco free policies is a huge deal the tobacco companies put a lot of marketing into marketing and people think it’s safe and cool when it’s really not.”
Pitt County Public Health Director Dr. John Morrow said second hand smoke is an issue.
“Second hand smoke is damaging to children,” said Dr. Morrow. “It increases the rates of ear infection, asthma, lots of other health problems for children.” “So the more we can keep children safe from second hand smoke, the healthier they are going to be as children and then as healthier adults too.”
The Health Department is also working with the Recreation and Parks Department to implement the changes into parks.
All GHA houses have to be in compliance by July 1st.
The city will have a series of events Tuesday to help answer any questions anyone may have about the changes.
They’ll be held at the Moyewood Center, Kearney Park and Meadowbrook housing complexes. At each location, Greenville Housing Authority will host a walk and banner signing for residents of the Greenville Housing Authority as well as the community. Youth will have the opportunity to paint their hand print on a banner that represents their support for smoke-free housing.
They will all start at 4 p.m.