The Heart Network congratulates the Village of Malone Housing Authority (VMHA) for its recent adoption and implementation of a Smoke Free Housing policy. Effective April 1, 2015, smoking in VMHA units is no longer permitted. Smokers are asked to use outdoor, designated areas instead.
Pat Lyng, Executive Director, initiated development of the new policy after attending a statewide conference of housing directors in 2013. At that meeting a housing authority from Rhode Island talked about its smoke free housing policy. “I thought we needed to do that, too, so I came back and started looking to see what other housing authorities were doing,” Lyng explained. “I found out that Harrietstown Housing Authority in Saranac Lake already had a policy, so we used their policy as a model,” he said. A resolution supporting the policy was passed in January 2015, at which point residents were asked to sign an addendum to their lease agreement, agreeing not to smoke in their apartment after April 1, 2015.
There has been little upset since implementation of the new policy. With the exception of a few residents who complain about having to go outside to smoke or threatening to leave because of the new policy, most seem happy to be rid of the odor and mess in the buildings. Three residents actually quit smoking because of the new policy, including five year resident, Dianne Cameron.
“When the policy was announced my first thought was, ‘how can they do that?’” Ms. Cameron said. As the effective date got closer, though, she started thinking it could be a good thing. She talked to her doctor who helped her make a plan for quitting. She’s been smoke free for more than 30 days now. “I think this new policy probably saved my life,” Dianne shared. “I feel and breathe so much better. I’m really glad they made the policy.”
Village of Malone Housing Authority maintains 175 units in 3 buildings located throughout Malone. Twenty-five of those units are family residences where approximately 50 children reside. Kudos to VMHA for taking steps to protect residents from the health hazards associated with second and thirdhand smoke.
For more information about creating smoke free housing or tobacco free grounds policies, please contact Dana Isabella at Tobacco-Free CFE (Clinton, Franklin, Essex). She can be reached by calling (518) 310-3723.