Public housing officially smoke

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Tuesday is the deadline for public housing authorities to implement smoke-free policies.

Along with promoting the health benefits of not smoking, HUD hopes the new rule will also "create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking", the agency says. It doesn't apply to e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Smokers now have to light up at least 25 feet from a building.

According to a Center for Disease Control 2014 study, the no-smoking policy will save about $497 million a year in healthcare and housing-related costs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently conducted research that found most multi-unit housing residents had smoke-free homes, but almost one-third of those residents said cigarette smoke from other areas of the building often entered their apartments.

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That policy started when HUD sent out a survey to public housing agencies across the country. The Pennington County Housing and Redevelopment Association buildings have been smoking free since April 2017.

The HUD website's guidance for local housing authorities includes a procedure that ends with eviction for people who don't follow the rules. But the agency said almost a quarter of a million units were already smoke-free in 2016.

Montgomery said smoke can travel through vents and other openings in apartment-style public housing and could impact the health of other residents.

It excludes residents living in homes under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as Section 8.

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