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Housing Authority to Continue Smoke-Free Campaign in Covington

Noting the health effects of smoking as well as the high cost of turning over units previously occupied by smokers, the Housing Authority of Covington (HAC) will continue its "Take It Outside" campaign in February.

Community meetings are scheduled at Latonia Terrace, City Heights, and Golden Tower in anticipation of a change in policy that will require smokers to light up outside any apartment, common area, or hallway owned by HAC.

A survey conducted in 2011 found that 64.7% of residents in those developments smoke cigarettes and that 38% of them were interested in quitting.

The same survey found that 57% would support a "take it outside" campaign.

Since adopting a resolution in September 2011 that made a commitment to educating tenants about the adverse health effects of smoking and of second-hand smoke, HAC has been working with the Northern Kentucky Health Department to engage residents.

The health effects are the primary concern, but there is also a higher cost associated with the units occupied by smokers, according to a memo from HAC.

It costs $755 more to turn over a smoker's one bedroom unit and to make it available for new occupancy and up to $1,199 more for a 4-bedroom unit.

Meanwhile, HAC teamed with Johns Hopkins University to test nicotine levels in the units occupied by smokers and non-smokers as well as the common areas. There were detectable levels of nicotine in every type of dwelling, all workspaces, and common areas.

HAC shared the price and nicotine level information with residents last August.

HAC and the Health Department will conduct its meetings at the following locations and times:

Golden Tower, Monday, February 24, 12 - 1 p.m. in the community room

Latonia Terrace, Wednesday, February 26, 5 - 6 p.m., in the community room

City Heights, Thursday, February 27, 5 - 6 p.m., in the community room

Photo: Golden Tower