Nationwide smoking ban goes into effect for residents in public housing

Approximately 18 months ago, HUD's proposed smoke-free rule required the more than 3,100 public housing agencies nationwide to implement smoke-free policies in their developments by July 30, 2018.

Public housing authorities prepared for this for almost two years when HUD first announced the new rule.

HUD says about 228,000 public housing units under more than 600 local agencies have already gone smoke-free, and the new rule will wipe out smoking in more than 940,000 other units.

The new policy only applies to all lit tobacco products and does not include e-cigarettes.

Approximately 2 million people live in public housing including more than 500,000 elderly residents and 760,000 children.

Public-housing residents will no longer be able to smoke in their own home or on the premises of their housing complex. HUD also states that banning smoking from public housing facilities will save an estimated $497 million in health care costs for families and maintenance costs for housing authorities.

Smoking in federally-subsidized public housing is now prohibited.

The Housing Authority says since this is an unfunded rule, they don't have the money to set up designated smoke areas, and the best solution for the wide variety of complexes is to rule it out completely.

"Chronic diseases are preventable and we think this policy, in the years to come, you will see the impact", NYC Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Javier Lopez said.

The American Lung Association said this will protect close to twomillion Americans from secondhand smoke exposure in their homes.