Smoking no longer allowed in public housing

Photo courtesy: MGN
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WASHINGTON (KCRG-TV9) -- Residents in public housing are no longer allowed to smoke inside the building, thanks to a new policy that took effect Tuesday, July 31.

In December 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development passed a ruling requiring all housing authorities to have a smoke-free policy in place by July 31, 2018.

Under the new policy, these areas are required to be smoke-free:

  • All public housing units except for mixed-finance project units
  • All indoor common areas (e.g., community facilities, public housing offices, laundry rooms, daycare centers)
  • Outdoor areas within 25 feet of public housing and administrative office buildings

The policy prohibits cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and water pipe tobacco (hookahs).

In a brochure, HUD explains that the agency believes that "secondhand smoke hurts everyone."

"Eliminating smoking indoors and close to the building is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke. In addition to protecting residents and employees from secondhand smoke, smoke-free policies create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking."

The HUD website's guidance for local housing authorities includes a procedure that ends with eviction for people who don't follow the rules.

Researchers estimate the new policy will save roughly $154 million per year.

For more information on HUD's policy, click here.

Residents of public housing across the U.S. have filed lawsuits fighting the ban, claiming the ban is arbitrary and is an abuse of HUD's discretion.