I'm usually so conservative but I'm really torn on this one.
I support the ban because housing assistance residents usually can't afford renter's insurance so, with the increased risk of fire, there is almost zero chance of the government recovering any money on a loss that a smoker might cause. The department that runs the housing programs have a responsibility to tax payers to guard the investment we've made in those apartments. With the same thought process, though, the apartments should ban candles and BBQs - anything with an open flame. If they did that and didn't just ban smoking, that would make sense to me. BTW, the apartment where I am now does ban candles (yeah, how would they know, right?) and BBQs can only be propane since there is no safe way for us to dispose of ashes. We're also required to have renters insurance.
On the other hand, many housing assistance residents DO pay some rent. It may not be a lot but it is rent and they are true tenants in that the inside of the apartment IS their home; their castle. Smoking is not illegal. Would the apartment ban the adult residents from drinking alcohol? Getting tattoos? Why are they picking on smokers? One could argue that being forced to quit smoking just to have a safe place to sleep is the wrong time to try to stop smoking. What about the cancer patient that simply can't stop? What about the smoker who is under so much stress, smoking is their last vestige of freedom and relief? I think of my MIL who has smoked for more than 60 years. Her days are bland. She is just marking time until she dies. She sleeps most of the time, waking only to go have a smoke. I hate that she smokes and I wish she'd give it up, but I have to admit that at least that cigarette gets her up and out of bed periodically.
BTW, my DD has asthma. She isn't allowed to play at a house / apartment where a smoker lives. She can invite her friends here but they can't play at their house. One day DD told me one of her friend's mom was giving up smoking just so DD could be invited for a sleep-over. Yeah right. We'll have moved long before that happens.