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WEST WARWICK â€“ As part of a statewide initiative, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) made a visit to the West Warwick Manor on Thursday afternoon for their â€śLive Smoke Free RIâ€ť campaign.
The Manor, located at 62 Robert St., is one of two elderly housing units operated by the West Warwick Housing Authority. By June, they hope to have implemented a fully smoke-free environment for residents.
However, the change doesnâ€™t come without some resistance.
â€śWe did a survey with the residents in both buildings, and overwhelmingly, the people support smoke free housing,â€ť said Executive Director Kristen Swanson on Thursday.
She reported that the Housing Authority mailed out 126 survey forms and 86 were returned. Of those 86 forms, 69 people responded that they do not smoke and support a smoke free environment. Six people responded by saying that either they or another family member smokes; however, they would be willing to comply with the policy in their building.
Swanson further reported that eight residents stated that a smoke-free policy would be a serious issue for a number of cited reasons and four others responded that they smoke but would be interested in a smoking cessation program.
Swanson later continued on to read the responses of the eight residents who strongly opposed the policy. Some of their concerns included medical marijuana and electronic cigarettes.
â€śWeâ€™re not looking to infringe of anyoneâ€™s rights but want to make sure that everyoneâ€™s rights are protected here,â€ť she said in response, adding that several issues, such as the medical marijuana, will be addressed.
For the full story, pick up the Saturday edition of the Times.