The secretary of HUD, Julian Castro recently announced that all public housing developments in the U.S. will now be required to be smoke-free environments for their residents.
In 2011 our Authority adopted a smoke-free rule for all of our buildings adding that anyone residing in or visiting any Authority-owned building needed to be a minimum of 25 feet away from the structure if they chose to smoke. This has presented challenges in some areas where roofed structures traditionally inhabited by smokers are teetering on the mark of 25 feet.
HUD has cited the Surgeon General’s report that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and that smoking tobacco kills 480,000 Americans each year. HUD believes their new ruling will help to alleviate the exposure of secondhand smoke and provide a cleaner, safer, and healthier way of living to residents. HUD has also made it clear that regardless of an individual’s circumstances (disability, mobility restrictions, mental health issues, etc.) the 25 foot rule must be enforced. Our staff as a whole will need to be vigilant of this and actively enforce this rule moving into the New Year.