HUD Begins Nationwide Ban on Smoking in Public Housing

Woman smoking
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

As of July 31, smokers will no longer be permitted to light up within state-assisted “HUD” housing projects.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will no longer permit the use of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes on the premises of its housing units. This includes not only the homes themselves, but any public areas, and a 25-foot radius around any outdoor spaces. The ban will not prohibit e-cigarettes, snuff, or chewing tobacco.

The new national mandate will bring the remaining 940,000 HUD housing project in line with the 228,000 already smoke-free. The new rule is projected to save about $153 million a year in both maintenance and healthcare costs — a fair chunk of the nearly half-billion savings estimated by the CDC in 2014.

But the benefits are not merely fiscal. HUD wants to reduce exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke, and encourage its tenants to drop the carcinogenic habit. To that effect, the encouragement will be underlined by stringent guidelines: Tenants could face eviction for violation of these rules — though first offenses will be forgiven.


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