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Letter: Smoking should be banned in apartment buildings

To the editor,

Recently, the Star Gazette published a picture of Oak Ridge after it burned to the ground. How soon we all forget what a disaster that was, and yet there is still nothing to done to prevent it. People are still smoking in their apartments and starting fires. Everyone says it would be too hard to change. Why? Bars and restaurants have done it, the parks have done it and other buildings have done it.

What amazes me is that everyone uses the excuse that this is a privately owned building. If that is the case, why do they have no smoking right down the hall in the assisted living area? These people have to go outside and smoke, and most of them are former residents of this side that were allowed to smoke in their apartments.

The lease says they don’t allow drugs? What do they think this nicotine addiction is? I know it is a dirty habit, but it is also a drug, and one that kills other people. We are all acquiring COPD, a life- ending disease and we can’t do anything about it. Nor can the employees here, or the handicapped children that work here. In fact, the handicapped children and their parents are probably not even aware of it. I wonder if they have seen the picture of this fire.

Yet not one bit of legislation was submitted by any of our legislature to stop smoking in senior buildings. Not only to stop a fire hazard but also a health hazard that causes a life ending disease.

In a letter I received from Common Bond, they said we should ask for our pipes to be lined and the doorways, etc. If they would come out to Oak Ridge Manor they would see this doesn’t work. Our lobby smells of cigarette smoke and the hallways on the second and third floor smell of smoke. I have been to other buildings and their lobbies and hallways don’t stink, so obviously something different must be done to prevent this that we don’t know about.

Well, I guess the more important things have been taken care of, like a new football stadium, which is definitely more important than old people’s lives.

I am sure it was very important to pass legislation on getting a new stadium for the football fans and the players, and also important to pass legislation on gay marriages.

So, how can it be important to pass the non-smoking in senior buildings to save us from dying in a fire or for health reasons such as COPD which is a life ending disease. Not one piece of legislation was presented for this action.

Excuse me; there was legislation as far as raising the tax on cigarettes, which will probably make it more difficult for seniors to get cigarettes. However, some of these people will go without food to get cigarettes, so that is not going to stop the smoking as long as the managers and owners allow this.

They say it can’t be done because these are privately owned? They also own the building down the hall, assisted living, but they don’t allow smoking there.

All these people have to amble outside to smoke, and they didn’t have to when they were in our building.

Why aren’t our Senators putting in some legislation to stop smoking in senior buildings? We have a right to a safe and healthy building as well as other buildings do, or don’t we have any rights when we become seniors?