‘I’m doing my best to quit:’ HUD smoke free policy has some tenants worried

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mississippi woman fears she won't be able to quite smoking by the time a "no smoking policy" is put into place in her public housing unit.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says they will no longer allow tenants to smoke in their units.

"These are the last years of my life. I know the dangers of smoking. I'm not 16," HUD resident Martha Redden said.

Redden has lived in Austin Run estates for eight years.

In about three weeks she turns 75. She's trying to quit smoking, but now she's afraid she will be punished if she can't stop.

HUD is adding no smoking signs to their public housing properties in Horn Lake, MS.

It's a rule that was finalized in 2016, went into effect in 2017 and must be fully implemented by July 31st.

Now residents are being told they'll have to smoke at least 25 feet away from their home or get evicted.

"I've never broken a rule here and my heart pounds when I think about it. I'm doing my best to quit, but I don't want to lose my housing," Redden said.

She says the thought alone is unbelievable.

"When I talk to people they tell me they can't be put out of their home, but I tell them that's exactly what they're going to do," Redden said.

She says he doesn't have family to help her and only brings in a little more than $700 a month.

Redden says she's afraid she will end up homeless if she can't overpower her nicotine craving.

"They'll have to put my furniture on the street, because I have no place to go," she said.

HUD claims its making the changes to reduce maintenance costs and boost the health of residents. They say since smoking inside a public housing unit is not a reasonable accommodation, they are allowed to make the change.

HUD is offering assistance to residents who are looking to stop smoking.