Smoking in public housing places neighbours at risk

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The following letter was published in the Jan 4, 2008 Star Phoenix

Smoking in public housing places neighbours at risk

My neighbours are poisoning my family and the government thinks it’s OK.
My children and I recently moved into a government-run affordable housing unit, where the neighbours’ toxic cigarette smoke is seeping into our living quarters.
When I first noticed a fog in the kitchen and dining room, I figured it was just the lighting or maybe some condensation. It’s when I opened the kitchen cabinets under the sink that I realized it was as if someone was taking a smoke break right there in my home. I also noticed the all-too-familiar smell in our upstairs bathroom and the hallway.
I have remained a non-smoker despite growing up in an era where there were ashtrays provided in public facilities. I do all I can to keep my children away from exposure to harmful smoke.
I have always felt that government housing authorities keep their places clean and have strict rules on what you can and can’t do in them. So I wonder why they would allow smoking in these units. My house is attached in a row, so whatever goes on next door should be an issue if it affects me.
When I raised the issue, they sent someone to caulk the holes were I thought the smoke might be coming in and told me to put cardboard over the cold air return upstairs to block the smoke. I’m no health expert, but I know you can’t just patch up holes to make the smoke go away and that the toxins can seep into every crack and crevice.
Someone at the Health department told me it’s a person’s right to smoke in his own home. What about my right to not have smoke in my home? I should not have to move out of my home because of someone else’s addiction.
Tara Gorecki, Saskatoon
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Page Last Updated: 16/06/2008