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.