It's been coming since January. A no-smoking policy takes effect today for residents living in Buffalo's public housing units. Employees and staff are not allowed to smoke in the buildings, or within 25 feet of the buildings, as well.
Smoke-free public housing buildings was recommended by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is encouraging smoke-free policies at the nation’s 3,300 housing authorities. Kenmore and Lockport authorities already have no-smoking policies in effect.
When the policy was approved by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Board in March, it was criticized by smokers. Dennis Waite, a smoker who lives in the Sedita Apartments, says it's his constitutional right to do what he wants inside his home. Waite says tenants were shut out of the process.
"BMHA violated the law, I feel, when they didn't inform us that all the written comments had to be done between October and January 19. We didn't get notified until three days later," Waite said.
The policy is being rolled out in Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority buildings along with smoking cessation programs to help residents quit smoking.