Up Close: Proposed ban on smoking in public housing

NEW YORK (WABC) -- We know the dangers of smoking. It's bad not only for the people who puff on the cigarettes, but also all those around them.

The debate has always been how to balance the rights of smokers to puff away, with the rights of non-smokers to not get sick.

Now the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a sweeping ban on smoking in public housing inside and outside of apartments.

HUD has proposed a rule that would require the more than 3,100 public housing agencies across the country to make their properties smoke-free.

The CDC says nearly 18% of adult Americans, or 42 million people, still smoke cigarettes.

It's the leading cause of preventable disease and death. In fact, 480,000 deaths every year in the U.S. are blamed on smoking.

16% of adults who are at or above the poverty line smoke, compared to 29@ of people living below the poverty line.

Joining us are Patrick Kwan, Director NYC Smoke-Free, and Ashley Engelman from the American Cancer Society.

We talk a lot about poverty these days. The income inequality gap. Those without.

This week the story of one New Yorker, an up from the bootstraps kind of gal who was bounced in foster care from home to another and abused.

But now she is giving back and helping feed thousands of people.

Our guest is Debra Vizzai, the new president and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the state's largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization.
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Bill Ritter talks with Debra Vizzai, the new president and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

Finally, an Eyewitness News tradition.

Every year around this time I interview musical acts for our annual Winter's Eve celebration here in the Lincoln Square area.

This year I interviewed the Chapin family. They were born and raised here and live here. The offspring of the great jazz drummer Jim Chapin, and the brothers of the late great Harry Chapin, who wrote "Taxi" and "Cats in the Cradle".

Harry carries on through the music of his remarkable family.
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Bill Ritter talks with the Chapin family, the headliners for this year's Winter's Eve celebration in Lincoln Square.

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