Last week, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department and Surgeon General a proposed rule to make the nation’s public housing properties entirely smoke-free. HUD’s proposed rule would require more than 3,100 public housing agencies (PHAs) across the country to implement smoke-free policies in their developments within 18 months of the final rule. Read HUD’s proposed rule.
Under HUD’s proposed rule, PHAs must implement a policy prohibiting lit tobacco products (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. HUD is seeking public comment on this proposed rule for the next two months.
What does this mean for the cancer control community?
• Currently, there are nearly 1.2 million public housing units across the country. Through HUD’s voluntary policy and local initiatives, more than 228,000 public housing units are already smoke-free. If finalized, the proposed smoke-free rule announced today would expand the impact to more 940,000 public housing units.
• By reducing the public health risks associated with tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke, the proposed smoke-free rule will enhance the effectiveness of HUD’s efforts to provide increased public health protection for residents of public housing. These protections will especially benefit the over 760,000 children under age 18 living in public housing and the over 329,000 persons over age 62.
• A 2014 CDC study estimated that the annual cost savings associated with banning smoking in public and subsidized housing to be $153 million. Health care costs accounted for $94 million, and renovation and fire costs accounted for $43 million and $16 million, respectively.
Implementing the guidelines will be a major public health undertaking! This is a topic near and dear to me (and my PhD) so let me know:
- will you be working with partners to help implement the new guidelines?
- will this provide the "opportunity" to creat new partnerships?
- Have you worked with public housing offices before? What has been your experience?
- What advice would you offer others?
I look forward to this discussion! Peace