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A new rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is requiring all public housing nationwide to become smoke-free housing by July 30, 2018.

The rule applies to every household member, all visitors, and all District of Columbia Housing Authority employees. No one will be allowed to smoke any lighted products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or water pipes (also known as hookahs). It is important to understand that HUD is not prohibiting residents from smoking, and admission cannot be denied to applicants solely because they smoke, but any resident, guest, employee, or vendor will no longer be allowed to smoke in or within 25 feet of public housing buildings.

Smoking will be banned on the entire property, which means no one will be allowed to smoke in individual units, in the hallways, laundry rooms, community centers, or any common areas. Smoking outdoors will be allowed only in locations that are 25 feet away from the buildings.

Anyone who smokes on the property will be committing a lease violation that could cause several enforcement actions. These actions can include receiving oral and written warnings or facing legal action if repeated violations occur. All residents will be responsible for making sure their families, guests, and visitors do not smoke when they are in your unit or on the property.

Repeated violations will be considered "material non-compliance with the lease agreement and a serious violation of the lease agreement." Also, residents may have to pay all costs due to any damage or to remove smoke odor or residue if they, or their visitors, violate the new rule.

During the months of June and July, your property manager will contact you to sign a lease addendum related to this new rule. All heads of household must sign this addendum.

If You Want to Quit Smoking

DCHA does not require smokers to quit smoking. But if you would like to stop smoking there are resources that can help and DCHA has partnered with local groups to provide information and smoking cessation classes.

If you or family members are interested in more information here are some no-cost resources you can use:

•    Call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA. The free helpline is staffed by registered nurses, certified respiratory therapists, and smoking cessation counselors who can answer any questions about lung health or quitting smoking. The Helpline also has bilingual Spanish speaking staff and live language interpretation service for 250 languages.

•    The D.C. Tobacco Free Coalition offers Quitline, which offers counseling and answers callers' questions. You can caii1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) and for Spanish-language assistance call (202) 333-4488.

While supplies last, Quitline can offer up to four weeks of nicotine replacement therapy free of charge to D.C. residents.

•    The Breathe Easy Coalition offers information on its web site at www.smokefreeforme.org. This website will also link you to a number of resources that can help if you are thinking about quitting smoking.

Last modified: 6/5/2018 3:47:49 PM