A 55-page report was released on the new rule, which revealed that tenants will be prohibited from smoking any tobacco products in indoor areas of public housing complexes and administrative office buildings. If a resident desires to smoke outside, they will be required to do so at least 25 feet away from their complex.
According to HUD, the decision will improve indoor air quality in housing units and the health of public housing residents and staff. It will also reduce the risk of fires and lower maintenance costs.
Presently, there are more than 220,000 smoke-free housing units in the country. That number will catapult to nearly a million as a result of the new rule.
Public housing agencies have up to 18 months to implement the smoke-free policies at their establishments.
A noteworthy benefit of the new rule is that public housing residents, visitors and staff will no longer be exposed to secondhand smoke.
A health issue that affects thousands of children and adults annually, secondhand smoke is responsible for a myriad of deaths over recent decades.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prvention (CDC), since the 60s, more than 2 million non-smokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Furthermore, the CDC states that "tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer."
The new rule is expected to save public housing agencies $153 million a year in health care costs; an estimated $94 million of that money would have been used for secondhand smoke-related health care.
More than 2 million public housing residents are expected to be positively impacted by the new rule. Of that amount, approximately 760,000 are children, another 300,000 are adults at least 62 years old.