Smoking to be banned in low-income housing nationwide

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented new rules mandating smoke-free policies in all public housing by July 30, 2018.

The rule covers 3,100 public housing authorities nationwide, including 47 in Colorado.

“Every Coloradan deserves to live in a smoke-free environment,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, health department executive director and Colorado’s chief medical officer. “This new rule will help protect those living in public housing from dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke.”

Currently, 22 of the state’s 47 public housing authorities have implemented smoke-free policies.

A Colorado study found smoke-free policies in mult-ifamily housing reduced secondhand smoke exposure and associated health problems. Such policies also have been shown to decrease the number of cigarettes smoked per day while increasing the number of smokers who quit.

HUD’s rule prohibits smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes in all living units, indoor common areas, offices and outdoor areas within 25 feet of public housing and authority buildings.

It does not cover privately-funded housing developments and does not restrict electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes.

The rule allows public housing authorities to implement additional smoking restrictions such as property-wide smoking bans, designated smoking areas, banning e-cigarettes, or creating buffers around playgrounds and other outdoor areas.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been working with public housing authorities and local public health agencies for the past 10 years to reduce the health effects of residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke.



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