On Thursday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro proposed a complete ban on smoking in all public housing across the country, a change that if passed would effect 3,100 agencies and some 1.2 million households.

Should the ban be adopted, agencies would have 18 months to come into compliance by implementing a policy prohibiting lit tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings.

“We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases,” Castro said in a press release. “This proposed rule will help improve the health of more than 760,000 children and help public housing agencies save $153 million every year in healthcare, repairs and preventable fires.”

The complete ban caps off an effort started in 2009 to make all public housing smoke free, with an estimated 600 public housing authorities adopting some sort of ban, with approximately 228,000 units already being deemed to be smoke-free.

The proposal is now open for a public comment period of 60 days, with those wishing to comment being directed to www.regulations.gov or to submit their opinions via mail.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.