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Smoking should be banned in council housing, public health chief says

(167 Posts)
LurkingHusband Mon 08-May-17 11:34:27

Smoking should be banned in all new council houses to protect children from harmful second-hand smoke, a public health chief has said.

Anti-smoking campaigners consider smoke-free housing to be the next major frontier in reducing the harmful effects of passive smoking.

In 2015, the Government introduced a ban on smoking in all vehicles carrying children.

“Housing associations and councils are looking at smoke-free housing buildings. Where children are involved I think there is a real case for it,” Dr John Middleton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, told The Sunday Times.

Dr Middleton said he believed housing association residents should sign contracts which would make non-smoking a condition of their tenancy.

“You wouldn’t evict a load of tenants for smoking. Where you have got new premises, you could have smoke-free agreements from the start," he said.

In the United States, the Obama administration passed a federal law which banned smoking in all public housing - the equivalent to UK social housing - in November last year.

The legislation, which will come into effect in August 2018, will affect more than million homes. In New York alone, which has the largest public housing agency in the country, 400,000 people will be bound by non-smoking agreements.

Pro-smoking campaign Forest said the proposed policy “would penalise unfairly those who can’t afford to buy their own homes”.

HateSummer Mon 08-May-17 11:39:25

Why just social housing?! Why not every private house aswell? Are homeowner's children not as important as social housing children?
Personally I think smoking should be banned in every public place like bus stops, outside schools, busy town centres etc. This law sounds a bit prejudice imo.

BaronessEllaSaturday Mon 08-May-17 11:39:41

I think it's a step too far. This isn't banning smoking in houses children are in but banning in all new tenancies. If they want to ban smoking then just ban it outright but not this way.

GreenHairDontCare Mon 08-May-17 11:41:06

You can't usually smoke in a private rental so I don't see why this is any different. It's ultimately not your house so you have to follow whatever rules are set, whether that's no washing hung out on the balcony, no pets or no smoking.

AndNowItIsSeven Mon 08-May-17 11:45:02

I am a not smoker but that would be horribly prejudiced. People should be able to do as they wish within their own homes. Not everyone in social housing even have children.

GreenHairDontCare Mon 08-May-17 11:47:02

Why would it be prejudiced? It's a rental property.

I am a smoker btw but don't smoke indoors.

BossyBitch Mon 08-May-17 11:48:18

I don't even smoke (while sober, anyway ...) and, and I still find this really invasive. Not to mention that, as has been mentioned above, it essentially amounts to economic discrimination against those unable to afford their own home.

LanaKanesLeftNippleTassle Mon 08-May-17 11:52:08

Oh so the oh-so-trustworthy rich homeowner can do whatever they like around the kids, but those scummy council house tenants can't be trusted huh??

It's just another extension to the current narrative that poorer families in social housing can't be trusted to parent "properly", make the right decisions, or do anything except drink Stella and smoke like chimneys.

Fine if they were to ban it in every home, but any other law is out and out economic discrimination.
But they won't because "an Englishman's home is his castle" (unless you are poor, or rent, or claim any sort of benefit)

GetInTheFuckingSea Mon 08-May-17 11:53:57

It's not the same as private rented because council tenancies are secure. The same person could be in one for forty years. And in all that time they're not allowed to have a fag in their own house?

LanaKanesLeftNippleTassle Mon 08-May-17 11:54:12

And if you are poor, or rent, any and all choices you make are up for public scrutiny, but god forbid we should criticise the mega rich/ bankers or politicians for their personal choices, despite some of those choices being at the expense of the average family/worker.

Charmageddon Mon 08-May-17 11:58:47

I think this is an awful idea.

It's essentially telling social housing tenants that they are in thrall to their masters, and they should remember their place (i.e. bottom of the heap).
It's their home, and I would imagine that most people in social housing are unable to afford the option of owning their own house.

I was quite conflicted at first, as I agree totally with the premise behind it - I'm a smoker myself, but I never smoke in the house (not even hanging out the back door).

However, on balance, I don't agree with the idea that the state can prescribe a lifestyle to a group of people that doesn't apply to all.

KatherinaMinola Mon 08-May-17 12:01:50

I think this is an awful idea.

It's essentially telling social housing tenants that they are in thrall to their masters, and they should remember their place (i.e. bottom of the heap).

Yes - awful. Either ban it for the whole population or not at all. But it won't happen - I can't see how you could police it.

Batteriesallgone Mon 08-May-17 12:30:50

Private home owners pay the price - quite literally - for smoking inside the home, because it is detrimental to the value of their house.

Smoking in a council home means either the council has to spend a lot of money between tenancies doing it up, or that people have to move into properties that stink of smoke.

Social housing is so thin on the ground you'd have no choice but to move in somewhere that stank of smoke if it was right in all other ways.

It's right they should have this rule IMO.

feellikeanalien Mon 08-May-17 12:41:50

There is so much hypocrisy around smoking.

Surely the bottom line is that if it is so bad for you why is it not just banned altogether? (After all they do it with drugs!)

The answer to that is that so much tax revenue would be lost and the vested interests of the tobacco companies would be badly affected so that no government is ever going to bring in a total ban.

As for just banning this in council housing, what Charmageddon says is spot on.

Chattymummyhere Tue 09-May-17 17:08:31

It's banned in private rentals and just like asking permission for pets sometimes it's a no. At the end of the day unless you own the house you follow the rules. Your also not allowed to build extensions or knock down walls but nobody argues a tenant should be allowed to do that.

Empireoftheclouds Tue 09-May-17 17:14:49

I think it's a step in the right direction, and it's nothing to do with trusting homeowners over tenants. It's simply the people who own the houses deciding what can and can't happen in them, there are lots of clauses put down by councils.

GetInTheFuckingSea Tue 09-May-17 19:03:59

It's not banned in private rentals - it's just that a lot of landlords don't allow it. I know of at least four who do though.

KatherinaMinola Tue 09-May-17 19:12:10

Your also not allowed to build extensions or knock down walls but nobody argues a tenant should be allowed to do that.

confused Well no. Because that would be making extensive structural alterations to the property. Rather than having a fag which, yes, impacts your health and those of the people living with you, but doesn't materially alter the property.

OddBoots Tue 09-May-17 19:16:10

"but doesn't materially alter the property." Having seen houses needing to be completely re-plastered because of the oozing residue from smoking in a house I would argue with that statement.

I agree that it shouldn't be framed as a child protection thing though - it is more about material damage if it is only to apply to social housing.

Batteriesallgone Tue 09-May-17 19:19:06

Smoking indoors definitely materially alters the property!

Last time we moved, the house opposite ours was put on the market a week before ours was. Slightly better condition than ours (both run down tbh) but long term smokers. Sold for £20k less.

Smoking indoors for more than the occasional fag definitely damages the plaster, carpets, various other parts of the house.

RealFakeDoors Tue 09-May-17 19:20:11

Things that should be banned due to the severe health impact they have on other people:

Smoking in enclosed areas.
Getting drunk.
Driving diesel cars.
Voting Tory.

I think that's it.

Urglewurgle Tue 09-May-17 19:20:57

It's not banned in private rentals, you'll probably find most ads specify non-smokers though.

Re: the effects on the property, council tenants are responsible for decorating etc and would be charged for any remedial works that needed doing.

I agree it's ridiculous, and I'm an ex smoker. I hate the way 'society' tries to police the poor; that they're not 'allowed ' Sky TV, mobile phones, holidays etc. It's disgusting.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Tue 09-May-17 19:22:13

Sounds fine to me. Most private rentals ask you to smoke outside, why should it be different for council rent? It's not saying "quit smoking if you live in a council house", it's saying "do it outside so you're not poisoning your child".

KatherinaMinola Tue 09-May-17 20:10:21

Oozing residue? grin I think that must be fairly unusual. I think having to deep clean, redecorate and clean carpets/curtains/upholstery is quite usual and reasonable if you're letting a property. I would regard that as fair use / wear and tear.

Empireoftheclouds Tue 09-May-17 20:55:01

I hate the way 'society' tries to police the poor; that they're not 'allowed ' Sky TV, mobile phones, holidays etc. It's disgusting.. This makes no sense. Nobody is 'not allowed' any of the above. Affordability and circumstances certainly play a part, but nobody tries to police anybody re these things. Smoking in a rental property be it private or council is an entirely different matter. I don't even know where you pulled the comparison to sky tv or a mobile phone from confused

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