Washington County Housing Authority issues smoking ban

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa.,None - The Washington County Housing Authority sent a letter to residents this week  stating that they must stop smoking inside of their apartments or they will be forced to leave.

 The letter states that starting on March 1 residents will not be allowed to smoke in or outside of their apartments. The letter goes on to say that anyone who wants to smoke must leave the housing authority's property to do so.

 Tammy McGaw said she was shocked when she received the letter at her Fredericktown Apartment on Monday.

 "We pay rent and we live there just like anybody else, so why is it a problem if someone goes out and smokes on their property?" McCaw said.

 "I have been smoking for 50 years and ya know, this is not a prison. I want to be able to come into my house and do what I want. This is crazy," said resident Ed Danko.

 Housing authority officials said after a cigarette caused a fire last November in North Charleroi they decided to enforce a no-smoking policy.

 "This is a rule we believe will make the apartments safer. A property owner has a right to make his apartment safer and that's what we are doing," said Washington County Housing Authority director Stephen Hall.

 Housing authorities across the country have smoking bans, including those in San Antonio and Detroit.