New rule prohibits smoking in public housing

National/World News
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WASHINGTON — A new federal rule outlined Wednesday will stamp out smoking in public housing.

According to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the prohibition will affect more than 1 million households.

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs will be banned, but electronic cigarettes are the exception to the rule.

The ban applies to all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and office buildings.

One reason behind the ban is the effect smoke wafting from one apartment to another might have on children and other nonsmokers.

Secondhand smoke has the potential to cause cancer. 760,000 children live in public housing.

While the federal government will not pay to enforce the rule, money might be saved on costs associated with smoking because of reduced cost to repaint and clean smoke-damaged units.

Fire losses also might be avoided. Police, at least in New York, will not be responsible for enforcing the rule.

Some opponents to the rule cited government overreach.

While the rule will take effect in 2018, agencies overseeing public housing will have a year and a half to enact the changes.

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