The Federal Government has just enacted a new nationwide ban on smoking. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is requiring public housing developments to be smoke-free. 3100 public housing agencies will implement these measures over the next 18 months.

The ban will enter into force on January 1, 2017. People will not be able to light up a cigarette inside their homes or the porches due to this new federal policy that attempts to create smoke-free public housing.

Smokers tend to buy fewer packs of cigarettes if they are more expensive. Photo credit: Country Detail
Smokers tend to buy fewer packs of cigarettes if they are more expensive. Photo credit: Country Detail

“Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful second-hand cigarette smoke,” said the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro. “HUD’s smoke-free rule is a reflection of our commitment to using housing as a platform to create healthy communities. By working collaboratively with public housing agencies, HUD’s rule will create healthier homes for all of our families and prevent devastating and costly smoking-related fires,” he added.

Bad news for smokers in the U.S.

The ban received its final approval last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It prevents people from smoking in public housing units, including common indoor areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of residences.

It will be mandatory on January 1st. And it is planned to be applied to 900.000 housing units across the country. Of course, the Department is willing to offer help in the transition by offering nicotine patches or free classes to quit smoking. The HUD encouraged administrator to adopt smoke-free measures since 2009; however, now it has made it mandatory.

If a resident wishes to smoke, they will have to walk to the nearest public road, keeping a distance from common areas. They expect people to commit to the new rule. They won’t be conducting inspections to find evidence of smoking, but they will keep contact with maintenance staff, to know if a neighbor or a resident is smoking. As well, authorities urge the communities to let them know if someone smokes within a prohibited area.

“I hate it. You can’t sit in your house and smoke; you can’t sit on your porch and smoke,” he said. “I don’t think that’s right,” said Byron Jenkins, a demolition worker who likes to start the day with a cigarette. He’s been smoking for more than 30 years.

Why was the ban imposed?

According to Castro, they are looking forward to create a safe environment for the residents. They are banning lighting tobacco products in all living units. He said that he has always warned about the dangers of smoking including second-hand smoke.

Children exposed to smoke can suffer from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and ear infections to asthma. Moreover, around 480,000 Americans die each year because of cigarette smoking, making it the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Therefore, protecting children and communities from smoke must be a priority.

Besides all the healthy issues related to smoking, the ban is looking forward to preventing fires in homes. It is a safety issue given the fact that about $153 million are wasted each year in repairs, and preventable fires associated with tobacco, $16 million of them are due to fires directly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HUD’s smoke-free rule strives to reduce all costs associated with smoking as it saves the quality of lives of the people.

HUD’s non-smoking rule strives to reduce all costs associated with smoking as it keeps the quality of lives of the people.

Source: Morning Ticker