Smoke-Free Senior Housing?

KINGSTON — First it was restaurants, then bars, now some senior housing facilities in Luzerne County are considering a ban on smoking. Residents recently filled out a survey on the issue.

For Jack Rodgers, there’s nothing like walking outside and having his morning cigarette. He also smokes inside his apartment at Kingston Manor, but he worries that might change.

“I want to smoke. I`ve been smoking for 55 years. I can`t quit now. I tried but it doesn`t work,” said Jack Rodgers, of Kingston.

The Luzerne County Housing Authority surveyed nine senior housing buildings about becoming smoke-free after some residents complained about the smoke. Federal housing officials also asked them to do the survey.

Sixty percent of residents who filled out the survey wanted their buildings smoke-free. Twenty-seven percent were against it. Thirteen percent didn’t care.

Right now, the people who live in Kingston Gardens and other buildings like this in the county are able to smoke in their apartments but not in the community rooms. Some people would like to see that changed.

Marie Kushner lives in Kingston Gardens and wants smoking banned throughout the building.

“The people across from me, she has very bad asthma, and she has to come out sometimes and even spray the hallway because it`s so bad,” said Marie Kushner of Kingston.

Kushner said secondhand smoke and the idea of a forgotten cigarette causing a fire make her nervous, but some believe everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want in their apartments.

“I felt bad for the people that still smoke and they have their rights as well,” said Kushner.

Calls to the Department of Housing and Urban Development were not returned because of the government shutdown. The Luzerne County Housing Authority said it currently has no plans to change smoking rules at the senior housing facilities.

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