Ban on smoking in public houses now in effect

The Gompers Houses a NYCHA public housing development as seen from the Williamsburg Bridge

Effective Tuesday, July 31, across the country, all publicly-assisted housing units are smoke free.

The new rule will penalize anyone who smokes cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and hookah pipes in indoor common areas, within public housing units, in administrative offices, and in outdoor areas within 25 feet of NYCHA buildings.

Public housing authorities were given more than two years to begin implementing and enforcing the policy, announced two years ago by the HUD.

Senior director of health promotions for the American Lung Association Pat McKone says this rule will protect nearly two million Americans nationwide, including 690,000 children from being exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.

According to the release, smoking in any area where it is not allowed will be treated as a "lease violation".

More than 600 public housing agencies have already gone smoke-free, but Sullivan says this policy will require the remaining 940,000 units nation-wide to join them.

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"We applaud HUD for also including waterpipe/hookah tobacco in its smoke-free policy", the group said in a statement.

Smoking in federally-subsidized public housing is now prohibited.

The HUD website's guidance for local housing authorities includes a procedure that ends with eviction for people who don't follow the rules. The initiative is meant to provide healthier homes to residents and healthier working environments for employees, according to an announcement from the New York City Housing Authority.

The smoking ban is drawing a mixed reaction.

Another Anthony Homes' resident says he's against cigarettes and hopes smokers consider how it affects children in the neighborhood.

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