Dec 01, 2015 08:00 AM EST

Cook County Implements Smoke- Free Public Housing

Staff Reporter

Due to National Housing Authority's efforts of implementing national smoke- free public housing, Cook County's public housing will be all smoke- free.

According to, the new policy will be implemented starting Tuesday, December 1. The implementation also comes with the announcement of the renovation of two high- rise buildings in Skokie. A survey was conducted and more than half of the residents favor the smoke- free policy.

Cook County Pres. Toni Preckwinkle said, "This is an important step for the health of our residents, as Dr. Mason can attest, and should serve as an example for public housing developments around the nation."

The new policy prohibits smoking inside the housing units and public areas of the public housing and smokers should be 25 feet away from windows and doorways for them to light a cigarette.

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In a report by, 23 public housing developments will be smoke- free and Preckwinkle hopes that their initiative will inspire other counties and public housing authorities to do the same.

Armond King Apartments has now a signage saying that the building is smoke- free and is now a "healthy hot- spot." One of the residents of the apartment building, Jay Kaplan, recently quit smoking two years ago and favors the new policy. "I like the new policy. Being a reformed smoker, I think smoking stinks," he said.

According to Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio, Armond King and Albert Goedke House will have a budget of $25 million for its renovations. The two public housing buildings have a total of 200 units.

Though the project will rack up the costs, especially renovating units that have damages of fire or even traces of cigarette smoke, Monocchio said that the project is still possible to be completed with federal HOME Partnership funds from Cook County and Evanston that amounts to more than $3 million.

What are your thoughts about Cook County's new smoke- free policy in public housing units? Sound it in the comments!

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