Feds seek to ban smoking in public housing

An illustration pictures shows cigarettes in their package.

An illustration pictures shows cigarettes in their package.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with regulations to ban smoking in public housing. 

The agency issued a proposed rule Thursday that outlines a far-reaching ban that includes implementing costs of over $200 million. The agency acknowledged that the rule could lead to eviction notices for poor, disabled smokers. 

"This proposed rule would require each public housing agency (PHA) administering public housing to implement a smoke-free policy," a notice published in the Federal Register read. 

"Specifically, this rule proposes that no later than 18 months from the effective date of the final rule, each PHA must implement a policy prohibiting lit tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas in public housing, and in PHA administrative office buildings (in brief, a smoke-free policy for all public housing indoor areas)." 

"The smoke-free policy must also extend to all outdoor areas up to 25 feet from the housing and administrative office buildings," it said. 

The smoking ban would apply to all lit cigarettes, pipes, and cigars in indoor areas "including but not limited to living units, indoor common areas, electrical closets, storage units, and PHA administrative office buildings and in all outdoor areas within 25 feet of the housing and administrative office buildings." 

Hookahs and electronic cigarettes were not included in the proposed rule, although the agency is seeking comment on whether to include them in the final regulation. 

"The absence of a prohibition on the use of e-cigarettes in this rule should not be read as an endorsement of e-cigarettes as an acceptable health alternative to cigarettes," the regulators said. 

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