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Cincinnati Public Housing Now Smoke-Free

Maple Tower in Avondale is one of 17 public housing buildings that are now smoke-free.
Maple Tower in Avondale is one of 17 public housing buildings that are now smoke-free.

Residents of Cincinnati public housing may no longer smoke in their units or in common areas, as mandated by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), months ahead of the same order from the federal government.CMHA CEO Gregory Johnson says communication was key in getting residents on board. The agency held smoke-free symposiums with the American Lung Association and the Cincinnati Health Department while the change was phased-in. In addition, there were 40 meetings at the 17 public housing complexes.

According to Johnson, "We allowed them to ask questions, tell us some of their fears and things like that."

To help accommodate the change, CMHA is in the process of building shelters for smokers at the high rises, away from the common areas.

Johnson says the transition is going very well. "At the end of the day, the last thing we want to do is evict anyone for smoking, but we have about five steps in front of that where we do referrals through the Cincinnati Health Department and the American Lung Association."

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