Public housing goes smoke

Posted August 03, 2018

Smokers can no longer light up in or near public housing facilities in the US due to a new rule that went into effect July 31.

The ban also prohibits smoking in areas up to 25 feet away from public housing units and administrative office buildings, according to a brochure from the department.

It gave all public housing authorities until the end of this month, July 31, to come up with a smoke-free policy. They say the rule will protect close to 2 million Americans across the country from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, including more than 18,000 in Wisconsin. It doesn't apply to e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. NYCHA and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials launched the new smoke-free policy Monday morning.

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In addition to reducing the risk of fires and lowering maintenance costs, HUD said the ban on smoking would drastically improve indoor air quality in public housing spaces. The nationwide ban on smoking was implemented two years ago under the Obama administration and it went into effect on Tuesday.

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

MHA said it won't be going door to door acting as the smoke police, but if residents are seen smoking in their units or near them, they'll be talked to by management.

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Alachua County Housing Authority's began this past January.

"I'm an adult and I feel like I am being treated like a child when you tell me I can't smoke if I choose to smoke", West said.

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

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