RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Public housing residents in Richmond are no longer allowed to light up a cigarette in their homes after a new policy from the federal government went into effect on Monday.
The ban doesn’t apply to just residents, but also RRHA employees and contractors.
Residents who spoke with 8News were split on the new policy, with some wondering how it will be enforced.
Creighton Court resident Pamela Irving Mays tends to her flowers each day.
“Had these out here for 11 years,” she said as she showed her flowers to 8News, “and they come in purple and green.”
Her flowers are part of her daily routine and so is smoking. Now, with the smoking ban going into effect, Mays will have to adapt.
“I’m agreeing to this because I understand that second-hand smoke is really dangerous to other people,” said Mays.
She will have to take a smoke break somewhere else now.
“Have to walk all the way up the street, maybe to Lucky’s or wherever I can go to go smoke,” Mays explained.
RRHA adopted federal guidelines that ban smoking inside the apartments as well as within 25 feet of the offices, community centers and units.
The ban includes pipes, cigars and electronic cigarettes.
“I love to walk and I love to exercise so you know it will probably be a good thing,” said Mays. “But it’s going to take me out of my category of being comfortable.”
Right now, RRHA doesn’t plan on providing smoking areas for residents. New signs throughout the courts remind people to think twice before smoking.
“This may be a good idea for the community,” said Irving-May. “But I’m hoping and praying you know that it doesn’t turn out to be a bad idea and then we have a lot of chaos just because we can’t smoke in the projects.”
People caught smoking will be charged $100 for their first offense, and residents of RRHA cited for three violations could be evicted.
“Okay, they don’t want us to smoke here on the property and they want to penalize us but I’m thinking that that is kind of steep for some people because a lot of people are on a fixed income,” said Mays.
There is a meeting regarding the smoking ban for Creighton Court residents tonight.
Stay with 8News for updates.