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Joheanny Sandrew: Time to get tougher anti-smoking policies

To the editor:

We, the undersigned, are residents of Meadowbrook Apartments and are writing to encourage property managers and owners as well as the housing authorities in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties to start thinking seriously about smoking policies.

Housing authorities in Hampden County need only look as far as Springfield, which is now 100 percent smoke-free. Those of us who do not smoke are physically suffering from the second-hand smoke of those who continue to smoke indoors and from third-hand smoke from service people who come in our buildings.

Residents with chronic health issues will often become more ill because of second-hand and third-hand smoke. Smoking inside a multi-unit apartment is a public health issue as well as a public safety issue.

How can the management at Meadowbrook Apartments forget the horrific fire that happened in 2009 that caused $2.5 million in damages and displaced 21 people, all due to a cigarette? A smoking policy is not against those who smoke or the act of smoking. No one is telling residents that they cannot smoke; you are simply telling them they cannot smoke indoors.

I attended a workshop approximately three weeks ago in Northampton and although it was well attended, my property manager and other key people were not present.

Many Massachusetts housing authorities as well as private property owners are adopting smoke-free policies. In fact, HUD is encouraging property owners to go smoke-free. It is impossible to understand why smoke free policies are not adopted since only 18 percent of the adults in Massachusetts smoke.

Finally, smoking is not a protected right and we should be able to live in a healthy environment.

Joheanny Sandrew
Learangelz Crespo

Ramona Pinto

Northampton

This letter was also signed by eight others at Meadowbrook Apartments.

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