While the Sun is right to draw attention to the significant health dangers of cigarette smoking, your editorial’s implication that the experience of existing public housing authorities in banning smoking provides an adequate template for the entire nation ought to be called into question (“No smoking in public housing,” Nov. 16). While you note that a third of housing units now have smoking bans of some sort, the diverse nature of these bans as well as the short amount of time which they have been in effect gives little evidence that they work as advertised. The few studies on public housing smoking bans that have been conducted found that smokers just ignore the bans. Unless public housing authorities are willing to issue eviction notices to tenants (all of whom are poor, many of whom are disabled), enforcement is likely to be exceptionally difficult. That shouldn’t be surprising. While workplace smoking bans did increase quit rates as they spread nationwide over the past several decades, about 20 percent of working adults still smoke and many of those that do sneak cigarettes in the workplace. A public housing smoking ban might theoretically public health, but there’s little evidence to think it’s practicable.

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