Lewis Diuguid

Kansas City Housing Authority’s smoking ban adds to poor being targeted

Kansas and Missouri spend a lot of money that neither state has to waste on drug testing people on welfare. The tests cost a lot but net few offenders.

Those who are least able to fight back often are the targets of overzealous politicians trying to make a name for themselves by kicking voiceless people living in poverty. Unfortunately the Kansas City Housing Authority seems to be be following that pattern.

The agency’s board in April OK’d a smoke-free policy for its 1,700 residential units housing about 5,000 adults and children effective July 1. The smoking ban includes indoors and outdoor grounds, The Kansas City Star reports.

About 40 percent of housing authority residents smoke. Public housing smokers can seek a six-month extension but must stop smoking in their units by Jan. 1, The Kansas City Star reports.

Quitting isn’t easy, but eviction is worse. Smoking is an expensive, dirty habit.

It causes cancer, heart disease, strokes and other illnesses. It’s also never good to smoke around children or even have them around smokers whose clothes retain the smell of smoke.

Having smoke-free public housing will promote better health and reduce fire hazards. Kansas City follows smoking bans in about a dozen other big city housing authorities, including in Minneapolis, Detroit and Houston.

But allowances should be made even grandfathering in existing smokers who are tenants out of fairness to people who have been good public housing residents. The housing authority also could pay for smokers to take smoking cessation classes to encourage people to kick the habit.