HUD seeks smoking ban in public housing

JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Smoking could soon be banned in public housing.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing to require all of the nation’s public housing agencies to make their properties smoke-free.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro says the rule would save about $153 million a year in health care costs, repairs and preventable fires.

The rule would ban lit tobacco products in all residences, indoor common areas and administrative offices. Smoking also would be prohibited outdoors within 25 feet of housing and administrative buildings.

The nation’s surgeon general says the rule is needed to protect public housing residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The public has 60 days to comment on the rule. The ban would take effect 18 months after the rule is finalized.