Federal rule to ban smoking in public housing nationwide

By Money Times

Nov 15, 2015 08:04 PM EST

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday a proposal that would prohibit smoking in public homes nationwide.

According to The New York Times, the proposed federal rule would affect 1.2 million public households and would mark the latest move to minimize unwanted exposure to secondhand smoke. The measure would also ban smoking in common areas and administrative offices in public housing areas. However, prohibiting tobacco smoking in dwelling places would be a big challenge, since some residents would definitely resist the rule because they don't want to lose the freedom to do whatever they want in their homes.

"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," HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a report from The Washington Post. "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."

NY1 reported that the proposal would also ban tobacco smoking in all living units, and even outside the buildings within a 25 feet radius. Mount Sinai Hospital's Dr. Elizabeth Garland said the new rule would be very beneficial to children as one in every four children in these housing areas suffer asthma. Meanwhile, Castro said the ban would improve the health of more than 760,000 children. It will also help public housing agencies save up to $153 million every year from healthcare, preventable fires, and repairs.

The rule, however, will not take effect immediately, since there will still be a two-month public comment period. Also, each locale will be given 18 months for implementation. This bad will impact the New York City Housing Authority the most. This agency is called Nycha, which has 400,000 residents living in 178,000 apartments.

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