After several years of health advocacy and discussion, we were excited when Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) officials contacted us in January  2016 about proposing a smoke-free policy. We were even more thrilled last Thursday when BMHA’s board of commissioners unanimously approved the policy during its March meeting.

The BMHA joins Albany, Rochester, Syracuse and a total of 34 housing authorities statewide that have implemented full or partial smoke-free policies in their residences.

I’m so happy this day has come. But I’ll be even happier on July 1 when  the smoke-free policy takes effect.

Why? Because finally, the resident at Marine Drive who has lung disease will be able to breathe easier without his neighbor’s seondhand smoke seeping through the ventilation system.

Finally, the mother at Commodore Perry Apartments won’t have to worry about the smoke pollution that settles on her carpet and walls, causing severe asthma flare up for her son.

And finally, non-smoking tenants can simply enjoy a day at home without the lingering smell of a dirty ashtray.

As for the smokers who live in BMHA buildings, this policy will make it easier for them to quit if they can’t light up at home every time a craving strikes. What’s more, we’ve encouraged BMHA leadership to connect smokers with programs, resources and literature that will help them quit We understand the power of nicotine addiction.

Bottom line: this policy is good for the health and safety for all residents. And it makes good business sense for the BMHA.

By Jenna Brinkworth, TFWNY Erie-Niagara Community Engagement Manager.