Public housing becomes smokefree under new policy

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

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development ban on smoking in public housing is set to go into effect Tuesday.

HUD announced in November 2016 that all federally-owned public housing must be smokefree by July 30, 2018. But just one violation "is not grounds for eviction", and smoking on public housing premises is a civil violation, not a crime, the agency said in setting guidelines for local enforcement.

"We want to make sure that we're providing the best communities that we can for our residents, and so implementing a smoke-free policy is something that falls in line with that", said Keon Montgomery, deputy housing director for the City of Phoenix.

"Several studies have proven that secondhand smoke can permeate throughout multifamily housing, moving from units occupied by smokers into units occupied by nonsmokers", said Robin Koval, CEO & President of Truth Initiative.

The policy prohibits tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars or pipes - in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings, according to a release from HUD. "They have more things to fix than telling somebody they can't smoke", Robinson said.

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The Feds say this ban reduces health hazards from second hand smoke.

The ban does not apply to e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

The goal is to create healthier homes for residents and employees. HUD wants to reduce exposure to unsafe secondhand smoke, and encourage its tenants to drop the carcinogenic habit.

Monday begins a new era in public housing.

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