HUD Issues Final Smoke-Free Public Housing Rule
HUD recently released the final rule requiring public housing agencies (PHAs) to implement a smoke-free policy. Specifically, no later than 18 months from the effective date of the rule, each PHA must implement a “smoke-free” policy banning the use of prohibited tobacco products in all public housing living units, indoor common areas in public housing, and in PHA administrative office buildings. The smoke-free policy must also extend to all outdoor areas up to 25 feet from the public housing and administrative office buildings.
The only substantive change in this final rule from the proposed rule is that now waterpipes (also known as hookahs) are included in the list of products that may not be used in the restricted areas. PHAs are required under this final rule to permit the use of waterpipes outside the restricted areas only. While HUD found no evidence of human fatalities associated with hookahs, there were sufficient incidents of property damage to warrant their inclusion in this rule.
In addition, HUD has changed the items covered under the smoking ban from “lit tobacco products” to “prohibited tobacco products” that include cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, to make clear that waterpipes are included in the list
PHAs are required to document their smoke-free policies in the PHA Plans, a process that requires resident engagement and public meetings. The proscription on the use of prohibited tobacco products must also be included in a tenant’s lease, through an amendment process or as tenants renew their leases each year.