Equitable Smoke-Free Policies in Public Housing
Smoke-free policies are intended to improve public health and indoor air quality, reduce the risk of fires, and lower maintenance costs. On December 5, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published its final rule, Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing, requiring public housing agencies (PHAs) to establish local smoke-free policies for public housing properties. Smoke-free policies undoubtedly have a positive health impact on many residents, including children. In their effort to mitigate the harmful effects of smoking, HUD and housing providers must consider how intervention to provide clean air may negatively impact the ability to house marginalized populations. A Guide to Equitable Smoke-Free Public Housing is a resource for PHAs, tenants, and advocates who are seeking to find the proper balance between two important public health issues– promoting smoke-free environments and ensuring access to affordable, stable housing. While this guide focuses on HUD’s public housing smoke-free rule, the philosophy of equitable implementation and enforcement can be applied to all types of rental housing.