Smoking banned in Jacksonville public housing

Rule goes into effect in October

Published On: May 01 2013 03:26:31 PM EDT   Updated On: May 01 2013 08:15:25 PM EDT
Smoking, cigarette
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Thousands of people in Jacksonville are finding out they will no longer be able to smoke in their own homes.

The people live in public housing, and a new rule will ban smoking inside their apartments.

April Cain and her family live in Blodgett Villas near downtown. She recently got a notice that says starting in October, she won't be allowed to light up inside her home.

"I think it's wrong," Cain said. "Just because it's run by the government, we should not be told what to do in our own house."

But that's exactly what the Jacksonville Housing Authority is planning to do. Smoking will not be allowed in the complexes the city owns.

"We are going to enforce it at the site level," said Frederick McKinnies, of the Housing Authority. "We have 23 sites of public housing in Jacksonville, and each manager will be required to monitor the situation. It's obvious when people smoke in their units, and some people are going to be reported by other residents, of course, and we will take the appropriate action."

That action will mean warnings and eventually could lead to evictions.

"But our purpose this first year is to be very flexible and work with the residents who want to quit smoking to provide assistance to them to do so," McKinnies said.

As expected, the news of the ban is getting mixed reactions.

"It don't bother me," resident Delores Ardley said. "A lot of that smoke, it irritates me when I be around it. So basically it don't bother me."

Derek Carson is a smoker who lives in a high rise. For him to smoke, he will have to go down 15 floors.

"I understand why they are doing it," Carson said. "I feel for people who don't smoke that have to live with people who do smoke, but still, there has got to be another way around it. And I don't know what the answer is, but I am willing to try anything."

Smoking areas will be set up outside, and for those who have a patio or balcony, they will be able to step outside. The Housing Authority will meet with residents later this month to go over the new policy, but some are saying it's just taking away their rights.

"If somebody wants to smoke inside, they should be able to smoke inside," resident Christie Krestalude said.