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Public housing smoking ban impacting locals

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 19:17:29-04

Paul Hunt is a smoker, but says he keeps his smoke area clean while enjoying his cigarettes on Underwood Tower's  patio.

"This is the only place where we can sit down and be comfortable," said Paul Hunt.

Hunt says smoking within 25 feet of his complex was banned July 1st this year.

I'm outside, I don't understand why I can't," said Hunt.

HUD says this new policy is in the best interest for smoker's health and tax payers dollars.

"It's a healthier lifestyle for low income residents, it's cost effective and helps reduce maintenance cost and encourages folks to live a healthier lifestyle," said Earl Redrick.

Omaha Housing Authority says they plan to heavily enforce it.

"We will do this as a lease violation, as it is reported, as we become aware of it, we'll deal with it," said Judy Carlin.

Now Hunt says he's planning to move because the smoking issue should be the least of OHA's and HUD's concerns.

"There's bed bugs, another reason is every time I turn around there's some type of flooding," said Hunt.

"Any concern that is not being addressed they can just call me and make sure it gets addressed," said Carlin.

Hunt say he feels his rights are being taken away.

"Yea I am breaking the rules, this is what we do," said Hunt.

HUD and OHA say tenants were notified months in advance and expected to comply.

"We are not saying you can't smoke, what we are saying is within the units that tax payers are supporting we want you to live healthier, longer, we want you to be safer and we want you to do so at a cheaper cost," said Redrick.