Tenants divided over smokers butting out in Manitoba Housing
Published Thursday, February 27, 2014 7:26PM CST
Last Updated Friday, February 28, 2014 6:10PM CST
Manitoba Housing tenant Mary Disbrowe said she likes smoking indoors, and believes it’s a personal choice where she lights up.
"I don’t want to stand outside when it’s cold,” said Disbrowe, who opens her window when she smokes. She said she smokes about half a pack a day.
Dolores Abella lives in the same Manitoba Housing complex. She said she hates smoking and would like to see it banned inside and on Manitoba Housing property.
Supporters of a smoking ban in Manitoba Housing said it's more than a health issue - it could also save taxpayers money.
Resident manager Kirk Mitchell said making repairs to units of smokers can cost hundreds of dollars. He said he supports a smoking ban in social housing.
“You don't own the building. You're just renting there. You have no right to just destroy it by smoke, he said.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said beyond the savings on renovations, the province could also realize other potential savings.
“If you think about it, usually you have to pay more for insurance, if you live in a smoking unit, so if they government units are smoke free, than the province might see some insurance savings,” said Colin Craig.
“Or if they go to sell the units, it will probably fetch more money if someone hasn’t been smoking in them.”
A spokesperson with Manitoba Housing said a non-smoking pilot project is underway. "If over 50 per cent of tenants in a pilot building indicate they are in favour of a no-smoking policy, then it will be implemented in that building," Manitoba Housing said in a statement to CTV News.
The policy would require tenants in pilot buildings to go outside to smoke, and only in designated smoking areas. The policy would be grandfathered, however, meaning tenants who lived in the building before the policy change who wished to smoke in their suites would be allowed to do so for the length of their tenancy.
The pilot project started in 2012 and will continue until 2014, said a provincial spokesperson.