Today (November 30, 2016) U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announced that public housing developments in the U.S. will be required to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. The final rule includes input from more than 1,000 comments received from the public, including Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), housing and public health organizations (including NAQC), and tenants.
PHAs must implement the rule within 18 months. However, NAQC recommends that state quitlines and tobacco control programs with the capacity to do so, should use this 18-month period to take actions that will help reduce the prevalence of smoking among PHA residents. For example, you may:
- Reach out to large PHAs to assess the needs of their residents for information and services about cessation and the harms of tobacco.
- Convene the state quitline and other organizations that provide cessation treatment to discuss coordination and delivery of cessation services (by phone, online and as part of healthcare services).
- Invest quitline media funds in targeting PHA residents, who tend to be low-income, Medicaid beneficiaries, and members of priority populations.
The final rule will:
• Require more than 3,100 public housing agencies to implement smokefree policies within 18 months of the final rule being adopted.
• Prohibit the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and hookah (waterpipes) in all living units, indoor common areas and administrative offices.
• Prohibit the use of tobacco products covered by the policy in outdoor areas within 25 ft. from buildings.
• Allow for further restrictions (e.g., buffer around playgrounds, restrict smoking to designated outdoor areas, property-wide smoke-free policy).
• Apply to all housing types, including single family units.
• Require PHAs to document their smoke-free policies in their PHA plans, a process that requires resident engagement and public meetings.
• Help improve the health of more than 2 million public housing residents, including 760,000 children.
• Save an estimated $153 million every year in costs from secondhand smoke attributable healthcare, repairs of smoke-permitted units and smoking attributable fires.
• Impact the more than 940,000 units that are currently not smoke-free, including more than 500,000 units inhabited by elderly individuals.
The final rule does not cover:
• Housing units in mixed finance developments.
• Privately owned, federally subsidized multifamily housing (e.g. project-based Section 8 housing).
• Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
Final HUD rule
NAQC comments to HUD
Data on PHA residents, by state
NAQC webinar on working with PHAs
HUD, CDC, NAQC and other national organizations will be working to support PHAs’ efforts to go smoke-free. If you have suggestions for ways in which NAQC can better support quitlines in your efforts to work with PHAs, please let me know.
My very best wishes,
Linda A. Bailey, JD, MHS
President and CEO
North American Quitline Consortium