Ref: [Docket No. FR 5597-F-03] RIN 2577-AC97
The Final Rule:
HUD’s final rule issued on December 5, 2016 requires that 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.
Tobacco products are defined (by 24 CFR 965.653 (c)) as:
i) Items that involve the ignition and burning of tobacco leaves, such as (but not limited to) cigarettes, cigars, and pipes; and
ii) waterpipes (hookahs).
PHAs may, but are not required to, further restrict smoking to outdoor dedicated smoking areas outside the restricted areas, create additional restricted areas in which smoking is prohibited (e.g., near a playground), or, alternatively, make their entire grounds smoke-free.
Purpose: The smoke free environment is expected to improve indoor air quality in public housing; benefit the health of public housing residents, visitors, and PHA staff; reduce the risk of catastrophic fires; and lower overall maintenance costs.
Action Required: Amend Public Housing Plans (including the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy); Amend Public Housing Leases
Timeline: The new policy must be implemented no later than June 5, 2018. We recommend action as soon as possible. Suggested actions are as follows:
- Engage Resident Council and/or Resident Advisory Board. Because the PHAs are required to document their smoke-free policies in their PHA plans, this policy will require resident engagement and public meetings. We suggest meeting with your Resident Council and/or Resident Advisory Board as soon as possible so that they may be aware of this new requirement.
- Discuss options with Residents. For example, will there be designated smoking areas? Will each property have the same rules or will rules differ between properties?
- Partner with organizations to assist with smoking cessation. Small PHAs unable to partner with as many outside organizations will have access to national smoking cessation resources such as 1–800–QUIT–NOW, a toll-free portal which routes callers to their state quitline, and community health centers for any smoking cessation needs.
- Best practices. HUD’s Web page for Smoke-Free Housing Toolkits:
- Update Public Housing Lease. The PHA must decide whether to have a new lease at the next annual re-examination or whether to pursue a lease amendment process.
- Update Insurance. Small PHAs, like large PHAs, can request insurance premium allowances from their insurance providers after implementing smoke-free policies.
Need More Help? Quadel is available to review and update your PHA Plans & Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy. Call us at 866-640-1019 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org