Nov 30 Smoking will be banned in all U.S. public
housing as of fall 2018 to reduce the exposure of residents to
secondhand smoke, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development said on Wednesday.
Healthcare groups including the American Lung Association
and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long sought the ban
because of the numerous illnesses secondhand smoke causes,
including asthma attacks, respiratory infections and sudden
infant death syndrome.
The ban is expected to affect two million Americans,
including 760,000 children and more than 300,000 senior citizens
who live in more than 940,000 public housing units, HUD said.
More than 600 of the nation's 3,100 public housing agencies
already prohibit indoor smoking. The new rule extends the ban to
smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes within 25 feet of all
federally owned apartments, public areas and administrative
Electronic cigarettes are exempted.
The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention has
estimated the smoking ban could save housing agencies $153
million annually in lower healthcare costs, fewer fires and less
HUD Secretary Julian Castro said he was optimistic the Trump
administration would not "roll back" the rule.
"I'm convinced that no matter the political persuasion, the
public health benefit is so tremendous and the resident support
for going smoke free is so tremendous that this rule will
stick," he said during a conference call.
"This is about protecting the nation's most vulnerable,"
said Erika Sward, assistant vice president for National Advocacy
at the American Lung Association. "No one should be exposed to
secondhand smoke in their homes."
Two in five children living in federally subsidized housing
are exposed to second-hand smoke, according to a 2015 CDC study.
Sward said they would have preferred the ban to include
electronic cigarettes and federally subsidized housing.
HUD said surveys indicate that most public housing residents
back the ban but that it would support local agencies as they
implement the rule.
Cornell University professor Jamila Michener said the policy
has important health benefits, but worried that it could lead to
"The very people we are trying to help could be hurt if we
are not careful about implementation," she said. "Eviction has
long-term consequences that lead to deeper poverty."
Leading U.S. tobacco companies Reynolds American Inc
and Altria Group Inc declined to comment on the ban.
(Reporting by Jilian Mincer; Editing by Andrew Hay)