Residents in public housing will no longer be allowed to smoke thanks to a new policy that takes effect July 31.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development passed the ruling in December 2016 that initiated smoke-free policies in all low-income conventional public housing. The ruling, which took effect in February 2017, required 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).
HUD said that the decision to implement the new policy was for health-related reasons.
"Eliminating smoking indoors and close to the building is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke," a release from HUD states."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.
For more information on HUD’s policy, click here.
Lawsuits fighting the ban have already been filed by residents of public housing the US. They claim the ban is arbitrary and is an abuse of HUD’s discretion.