Deadline arrives for smoke-free Public Housing Authorities

The Gompers Houses a NYCHA public housing development as seen from the Williamsburg Bridge

The Gompers Houses a NYCHA public housing development as seen from the Williamsburg Bridge

These policies ban the use of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes from public housing units as well as within 25 feet from the buildings.

HUD announced in November 2016 that all federally-owned public housing must be smokefree by July 30, 2018.

The American Lung Association applauds the new rule issued by the Trump administration, which the health organization says "recognizes the serious health threat posed by secondhand smoke, and its ability to linger in rooms and even travel between homes in multi-unit housing". The ban will not prohibit e-cigarettes, snuff, or chewing tobacco.

"Smoking in any area where it is not allowed will be treated as a lease violation", HUD's website states.

Smoking is no longer allowed in New York City public housing.

According to a Center for Disease Control 2014 study, the no-smoking policy will save about $497 million a year in healthcare and housing-related costs.

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Programs from the City of Phoenix Housing Department provide public housing, Section 8 housing vouchers, affordable rental apartments and single-family homes to more than 35,000 residents.

There are groups around the country who have filed lawsuits regarding the ban, but HUD says it's legal because it's about where someone - not whether someone smokes.

According to Nika Edwards, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the three main reasons behind the ban are health, safety, and cost.

Local and federal officials cite health concerns for residents and costs dealing with maintenance and fire fix as factors that led to HUD's final decision.

"Smoking actually damages the units, whether it's the paint or the cabinets", he said.

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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