By Brooklyn Lowery
August 19, 2013, Newton Patch
The Newton Housing Authority has announced that the majority of its units are now smoke-free, a transition that began more than two years ago.
“Such a policy protects residents from secondhand smoke,” a press release reads. “Because smoke drifts between units and cannot be contained, the only fail-proof solution to the problem of secondhand smoke is for buildings to go entirely smoke-free.”
According to the press release, the NHA began exploring the option for its six federally funded multiunit buildings a couple of years ago when residents expressed interest in creating a smoke-free environment. Letters from residents complaining of secondhand smoke drifting from other units prompted many of the complaints, according to Amy Sutherland, interim executive director of the Newton Housing Authority.
“We were surprised and pleased to learn that 83 percent of survey respondents favored a smoke-free policy, including many who were current smokers,” said Sutherland in the press release. “The overwhelming support of our tenants solidified our decision to institute a smoke-free policy that is protective of tenants’ health.”
The smoke-free policy went into effect on July 1 and residents were alerted months in advance of the implementation. In addition, the NHA offered on-site tobacco cessation counseling through Newton-Wellesley Hospital for individuals interested in quitting.
Newton is the first community in the 5 Community Collaborative, comprised of Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Newton and Watertown, to institute a smoke-free policy.