Senior Residents in Belleville, IL, Westfield Manor Independent Living Apartments -
Statewide Smoking Ban An Excuse for Sadistic Threats and Cruel Treatment?

(See photos and read letter)

We received the following letter recently. This is another example of the wide-spread effects to be expected from SB500, The Smoke Free Illinois Act. Our elected officials in the Illinois Assembly need to be exposed for their real and hurtful accomplishments with this smoking ban, and the Tobacco Control bullies also need to have their "public altruism" masks removed to show what they really are doing to society. Is this any way to treat our seniors?

We're all growing older every year. Would you want to be treated this way? Think about it!!! Contact me if you have any suggestions or resources to help.

Garnet Dawn - Illinois Smokers Rights - President
The Smoker's Club, Inc. - Midwest Regional Director
The United Pro Choice Smokers Rights Newsletter -


Senior citizen's health is being compromised by the new Illinois smoking bans. Most of us have smoked 50-70 years, and have no desire to stop. But we are being forced outside in rain, wind, snow, ice and all other conditions to enjoy our cigarette. We are forced to move 15 feet or more from the building, by the Illinois law. Most of us have disabilities not related to smoking.

We are talking about seniors, age 65 and older. Most are very unsteady on their feet anyway, depending on canes, walkers and wheel chairs to get around at all...even in good weather. There will be an increased danger of falls and pneumonia, and other respiratory problems as a result of this law.

The extra taxes on cigarettes also forces us to cut back on food and other necessities to afford to buy our cigarettes..

We know that the problem is not just local, but a small group of us seniors are trying to fight back. It has also happened in several nursing homes and assisted living centers here locally , as well as in the independent living apartment we are in.

In our case, we are low income, HUD-subsidized housing, but they are independent living apartments, not assisted living. We live in the Westfield Manor Apartments in Belleville Illinois. These apartments are owned by Lutheran Senior Services, but have a PRAC 202 contact with HUD to rent to low-income seniors. Smoking has always been allowed in these apartments, but this year they decided to go Non-smoking on us, starting Nov 1, 2007.... Illinois law clearly states that we can smoke in our private apartments. HUD says they have no policy about smoking, but that House rules must abide by State laws, including laws on smoking. Yet, we are being forced outside, 15 feet from doorways and windows, no shelter or protection from wind rain, ice, or etc.

There are 62 apartments in our building. 16 of us are smokers. Several other non-smoking residents also agree that we should be allowed to continue smoking in our apartments. I am the youngest at age 69. The others are between the ages of 72 and 91 years old. None of us are in perfect health at this age, and there are so few things left for us to enjoy. Stopping smoking at our age is not going to extend our lives, but the stress and hassle we are going thru, and going outside in all kinds of weather is sure to shorten it for us.

Here at Westfield Manor Apartments, they discriminate against smokers by making house rules that they can invade our privacy with searches of our apartments any time of the day or night without previous notice, threaten us with eviction, and have tried financial exploitation to force us to pay to have carpets replaced, walls painted and even claiming refrigerators and stoves will have to be replaced. They tell us that this will have to be done at our expense. We don't understand how cigarette smoke can harm stoves and etc, any more than regular cooking does. Two to Four years in an apartment , carpets will get dirty, and walls will have to be cleaned. That is normal wear and tear.

The HUD contract says the walls and carpets are to be clean when someone new moves in anyway, and I can't say for sure, but I have also been told that it also states that walls are to be painted every 5 years, and carpets replaced every 5-9 years, depending on the condition of the carpet. I think this is to be done at the builder owner's expense.

Moving is not an option for most of us. There is no other place for us to go. We have sought legal council, Management responded with a lawyer of their own, to try to force us outside to smoke or force us to move. What should be our next step???

Edna Ruth

Here are some pictures of the 'smoking area' at Westfield Manor apartments. They say a lot more than I can put into words about the inhumane treatment of our 70 to 91 yr. old handicapped smokers. Copies of these photos have been sent to HUD and to the CEO at Lutheran Senior Services.

EdnaRuth Martin
7245 Westfield Plaza Dr
Belleville Illinois 62223

Smoking Area

To Ramp

Exit - Outside Keypad

Exit to Smoking

Meet the Tenants

Smoking Break

Smoking Break - 2

Smoking Break - 3

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