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Smoking Now Banned in All US Public Housing

Dec 02, 2016 08:28 AM EST

The National Housing and Urban Development has issued a new rule prohibiting smoking of any lit tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigar and pipes, in all public housing units in the United States.

Under the new rule, all public housing agencies (PHA) administering public housing is required to implement a smoke-free policy. The policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas and administrative office buildings of public housings. Smokers will also be prohibited in all outdoor areas up to 25 feet from public housing and administrative office buildings.

"Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful second-hand cigarette smoke," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro, in a press release. HUD's smoke-free rule is a reflection of our commitment to using housing as a platform to create healthy communities. By working collaboratively with public housing agencies, HUD's rule will create healthier homes for all of our families and prevent devastating and costly smoking-related fires."

The final rule of the HUD is expected to be implemented no later than 18 months from the effective date of the rule. Public housing agencies are expected to save $153 million worth of repairs and preventable fires every year if the new smoke-free policy is to be implemented properly. These savings include 94 million in secondhand smoke-related health care, $43 million in renovation of smoking-permitted units and $16 million in smoking-related fire losses.

HUD's smoke-free policy is not only to help financially but also save thousands of residents living in public housings. Smoking has been linked to 100,000 fires each year nationwide. These fires resulted in over 500 deaths and nearly half a billion dollars of direct damage to property.

Additionally, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 480,000 Americans die every year due to smoke-related illnesses, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the country.

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