A new federal rule announced Wednesday will ban smoking in all public housing residences nationwide.
The new rule will take effect early next year, but public housing agencies could take up to a year and a half to fully implement the smoke-free policies. The rule would ban “cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs (or water pipes)—but not electronic cigarettes—from being smoked in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and office buildings,” according to the New York Times.
While some 200,000 agencies across the country have already adopted a smoking ban, the rule could affect more than 1.2 million households around the country.
Anti-smoking advocates were pleased to learn of the nationwide ban on smoking. For years they have pushed a campaign to stop exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Housing agencies believe that fines, education, counseling and nicotine aids will help enforce policies.
“The last thing that we want are evictions,” Julián Castro, secretary of housing and urban development, said during a call with reporters, the Times reports.
“We don’t see this as a policy that is meant to end in a whole lot of evictions,” Castro said. “We’re confident that public-housing-authority staff can work with residents so that that can be avoided.”
Read more at the New York Times.