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A Department of Housing and Urban Development plan to ban smoking in public housing is stirring controversy. Smokers or non-smokers: Whose rights prevail?

click to enlarge Lisa Hines
  • Lisa Hines

Lisa Hines of the Old North End is a statistics professor.

Do you support or oppose the HUD smoking ban? Absolutely, I support it. Secondhand smoke poses so many health hazards.

What has priority: the freedom to smoke wherever you want, or the right of non-smokers to be free of secondhand smoke in public places? Both sides have rights, but when the exercise of one person's freedom jeopardizes the health and safety of those nearby, that freedom loses legitimacy.

As the owner of public housing, does the government have the right to limit smoking in those apartments? As property owner, it sure does. Smoking is a fire hazard, and secondhand smoke compromises the health of children and non-smoking neighbors.

click to enlarge Shannon Henry
  • Shannon Henry

Shannon Henry of the Nevada & Fillmore area is a preschool teacher.

What's your take on the proposed HUD smoking ban? It's just another control thing. The second we start giving away all our freedoms — you can't smoke, you have to do this, and you have to do that — we're letting go of our rights.

Former Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reputedly said, "Your rights end where my nose begins." Respond to that in light of this issue. What makes his nose more important than someone else's?

As owner and supervisor of public housing units, does the government have the right to ban smoking in them? I don't smoke, but I wouldn't live in public housing under those regulations.

click to enlarge Tracy Scott
  • Tracy Scott

Tracy Scott of Springs Ranch is an information technologist.

Where do you stand on the HUD ban? It would reduce the risk of fire and other safety hazards. People should be able to live and go about in public without having to inhale secondhand smoke.

Whose rights should prevail: the freedom to smoke wherever one chooses, or the rights of non-smokers to be free of secondhand smoke in public? Smokers have a right to smoke, but there needs to be limits on where.

Do you support or oppose smoking bans in bars? That's not something the government should determine.

Oliver Wendell Holmes reputedly said, "Your rights end where my nose begins." Respond to that in light of this issue. In the end, it comes down to consideration. There are people who don't smoke and people who have breathing problems in public places. Simple consideration should decide.

  • Smokers or non-smokers: Whose rights prevail?

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