In a Federal Register notice, the Office of Public and Indian Housing and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner ask for public comment regarding how HUD can continue to support the implementation of smoke-free policies for public housing and multifamily housing.
HUD seeks best practices, ideas for overcoming potential obstacles, and methods for supporting residents in transitioning to smoke-free housing from housing providers that have implemented smoke-free policies. HUD also requests feedback from housing providers that have decided not to implement a smoke-free policy, as well as their residents and employees who were impacted by that decision. HUD will use the information to develop and distribute additional guidance and resources to support public housing agencies (PHAs) and owners and management agents (O/As) of private, HUD-assisted multifamily housing who wish to implement smoke-free policies.
For PHAs, HUD issued PIH Notice 2009-21 in 2009 and reissued it this year as PIH Notice 2012-25, while Housing Notice 2010-21 for O/As was issued in 2010. These notices strongly encourage PHAs and O/As to adopt smoke-free policies in some or all of their properties. As of January 2011, more than 225 PHAs have adopted smoke-free policies in some or all of their units.
Among other considerations, these notices stated that secondhand smoke can migrate among units in multifamily properties, with the possibility of causing respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer and other adverse health effects for housing residents and employees.
The notice poses 19 questions under four categories, including:
- Benefits and costs. What were the benefits, risks and costs of voluntarily implementing a smoke-free policy?
- Policy Development and implementation. What roles did residents play, what steps were taken to engage residents and what obstacles were encountered?
- Enforcement. Should residents who smoked before the policy be allowed to continue, and should affected residents, whether smoker or non-smoker, be offered housing alternatives?
- Resources. For those that have implemented a smoke-free policy, what resources would have been helpful that were not provided?