New York City has a Smoke-Free Air Act, that came into effect in 2002, banning smoking from common areas of buildings with 10 or more apartments. Smoking in individual units is allowed unless the building has specifically banned it.
However, in order to align with federal government regulations, all NYCHA buildings must be smoke-free by July 2018. Last November, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated that smoking must be eliminated from all public housing. About 400,000 residents will be affected by the ban.
Cigarettes, cigars, and pipes will not be able to be ignited in NYCHA apartments, indoor common rooms, administrative offices, or within 25ft. of public housing buildings. Currently, smoking is banned in these buildings’ lobbies, hallways, and stairwells.
Steps of Enforcement
Several levels of enforcement have been proposed, as a way of easing residents into complying with the policy:
- Warnings – A reprimand and reminder of what the rules are
- Intervention – Smoking cessation materials provided
- Termination of tenancy proceedings
This law is to combat secondhand smoke, which harms those around a smoker. A third of NYCHA residents report to having a child with asthma, and adult residents are two times as likely to have asthma compared to the rest of the city. The removal of smoke creates a better quality of life for the child. Fire hazards and maintenance costs are also reduced when smoking is banned.