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New Proposed Federal Rule Aims to Ban Smoking in Public Housing

Update Date: Nov 12, 2015 01:00 PM EST
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People living in public housing might have leave their homes and walk 25 feet away in order to smoke a cigarette or any other tobacco products.

The Department of Housing and Urban Developing (HUD) has proposed a new federal law that would ban smoking in public homes across the United States.

The HUD stated, reported by TIME that the law would "improve indoor air quality in the housing, benefit the health of public housing residents and PHA staff, reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and lower overall maintenance costs."

Julian Castro, the HUD Secretary, stated that the proposal could help save $153 million per year, the Washington Times reported.

Castro said in a statement, "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."

The department added that by banning smoking in these buildings, health consequences from secondhand smoking could also be reduced. The proposal specifically cited the U.S. Surgeon general's estimate that around 41,000 American adults, who are not smokers, die from secondhand smoke per year.

"Everyone - no matter where they live - deserves a chance to grow up in a healthy, smoke-free home," said Surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy. "There is no safe level of secondhand smoke. So, when 58 million Americans - including 15 million children - are exposed to secondhand smoke, we have an obligation to act. That is what Secretary Castro is doing with this proposal."

If the law gets passed, more than 3,100 public housing agencies (PHAs) that are in charged of at least oen million housing units would have to implement it within 18 months. After implementation, these homes would no longer allow any lit tobacco products within the homes, in the indoor common areas and within 25 feet of all related buildings.

Public opinion in regards to the proposal will be heard for up to 60 days.

The HUD recommended PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies in 2009. Since then, more than 228,000 housing units out of about 1.2 million units have voluntarily become smoke-free areas.

To read the proposed law, click here.

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