Indianapolis public housing going smoke-free

INDIANAPOLIS - When the Indianapolis Housing Agency voted in January to ban smoking in apartments and common areas, it pointed to a frantic surveillance video from Lugar Tower.

In the video, a woman runs door to door warning people about the fire on her floor. The fire, which erupted last December, was started accidentally by another woman who was smoking while on oxygen therapy.

It's just those types of incidents that housing officials are seeking to prevent, they say – fires that put people's lives in danger and smoke and water damage that must be repaired at taxpayer expense.

That's why the Indianapolis Housing Agency plans to make 12 of its facilities, including the Lugar and Barton Towers, smoke free.

Tenant Joycelyn McGuire says she agrees with the decision.

"I have a child with asthma, and I'm a smoker also. I welcome a smoke-free building," she said.

Indianapolis Housing Agency Executive Director Bud Myers says the organization is still working on the official policy. One definite rule, he said, will limit smoking outside to at least 20 feet away from public housing buildings.

The smoke-free policy is expected to go into effect by the end of the year.

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