CASAA is making members aware that the Housing Authority of the City of York, Pennsylvania has recently proposed a “Smoke Free Housing Policy” that will ban smoking in residential units, common areas and within 25 feet of the entrance of any public housing-operated building. According to a recent news article, Authority officials answering questions at the White Rose Senior Center said that the ban also prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes. (See last answer in link, under the "At a Glance" heading.)
To allow any government agency to ban the use of low-risk, smoke-free alternatives without public comment would set a dangerous precedent and could lead to expanded use bans elsewhere. It also sends a misleading message to the public that there are known health risks associated with electronic cigarette use that justifies banning public use. This is unacceptable!
Link to new policy: http://yorkhousingauthority.com/files/2012%20Smoke%20Free%20policy.pdf
Link to draft of lease amendment: http://yorkhousingauthority.com/files/Smoke%20Free%20policy%20and%20lease%20addendum-%20draft.pdf
The York Housing Authority’s deadline for public comment is July 5, 2012.
Please write, fax, or call the York Housing Authority.
31 South Broad Street
York, PA 17403
Phone: (717) 845-2601
Fax: (717) 845-9251
TDD Phone: (717) 846-9157
1. Ask them to remove the use of electronic cigarettes from the Smoke Free Housing Policy.
2. Tell your story on how switching to an e-cigarette has changed your life.
3. Tell them that by switching to electronic cigarettes, you have greatly reduced
your health risks.
4. Explain how electronic cigarette “vaping” is completely different from actual cigarette
smoking. First of all, electronic cigarettes produce no smoke. In addition, it is easy to tell when someone lights a cigarette from the smell of smoke. E-cigarette vapor is practically odorless and generally any detectable odor is not unpleasant and smells nothing like smoke. Therefore, the smell will not penetrate the surrounding housing units and common areas.
5. Let them know that vapor does not behave in the same manner as smoke. There is no "side stream" vapor like the side stream smoke coming from the lit end of a cigarette. There is also no ash or litter.
6. Explain that, for the above-mentioned reasons, electronic cigarette use will not affect the air quality of the other public housing residents and with so little evidence of use, it would be nearly impossible to enforce a ban of their use.
7. Explain that electronic cigarette second-hand vapor is completely harmless as it contains no tar, nicotine, carcinogens or other potentially harmful substances. For that reason, it poses no danger to the other public housing residents. Since the goal of this ban is to improve the health of all of the tenants in public housing, the policy should not include e-cigarette use.
8. Inform them that the ability to use electronic cigarettes in and around housing units will actually improve public health by inspiring other smokers to switch. Surveys of thousands of users indicate that the majority of those who switch, completely replace tobacco cigarettes with the electronic cigarettes, reducing their health risks by 98-99%.
9. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.