Proposed Rule Would Require Smoke-Free Public Housing

Under a proposed rule issued on November 12, HUD would require all public housing agencies (PHAs) and public housing properties to be smoke-free within 18 months of a final smoke-free rule. The proposed rule would require that PHAs prohibit lit tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas, and in PHA administrative office buildings.

"We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases," HUD Secretary Julián Castro said.

The proposed smoke-free rule would apply to all public housing, including scattered site public housing, but not to dwelling units in mixed-finance buildings. PHAs must prohibit all indoor smoking and may choose to restrict smoking to outdoor dedicated smoking areas or to make their grounds entirely smoke-free.

In a conference call to explain the details of the proposed rule, Secretary Castro said that enforcement of the smoke-free rule would be through leases that would include the no-smoking policy. Asked about potential evictions of residents who continue to smoke, Secretary Castro said that HUD wants to avoid punitive measures such as evictions at all costs and that evictions should be a last resort.

Secretary Castro said that since HUD began encouraging PHAs to go smoke-free in 2009 (see Memo, 7/24/2009), 600 have done so in ways that incorporate best practices on smoking cessation. HUD has encouraged owners to adopt smoke-free policies since 2010 through notices to HUD multifamily assisted property owners.

There is a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule.

Read the smoke-free public housing proposed rule at:

Read Secretary Castro’s statement at: