HUD smoking ban in public housing starts July 31; Vaping allowed (maybe)
In about 2-weeks, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) begins implementing its no smoking policies for public housing facilities while vaping may or may not get a free pass. Residents will be prohibited from smoking inside individual units and all common areas of apartment buildings and HUB-managed buildings. The federal ban will further extend to within 25-feet of the exteriors of these structures, although local Public Housing Authority (PHA) officials are granted the authority to designate outdoor smoking areas if they choose.
The smoking ban affects all residents, employees, visitors, and guests while each PHA complex is granted the opportunity to implement additional restrictions should they deem them appropriate. Officially, HUD is not outlawing vaping devices or electronic cigarettes, but the new policies could theoretically be revised at any time to include a vaping ban. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ending a 120-day probe on July 16 into the possibility of a nationwide flavor ban on the sales of e-liquids, a revamp of the federal regulations to include vaping and e-cigs is not totally out of the question.
Furthermore, HUD is granting local PHAs the authority to modify the federal rules to include vaping at any time, of their own accord, without prior approval of HUD officials, and regardless of the results of the FDA probe. All residents and employees of public housing will need to check with their local PHA representatives prior to the July 31 deadline to determine if vaping is allowed at their facilities. Offenders may face financial or other penalties while repeat offenses may even jeopardize residency or other privileges.
The Nanny State: Smoking, vaping and HUD
The new HUD regulations are the result of a years-long process that began under the Obama Administration. The HUD Final Rule document was made public on November 29, 2016, just days after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Coincidentally, this group of Obama officials are the very same ones who zealously implemented the controversial deeming regulations that threaten to bankrupt the American vaping industry by 2022. The Trump Administration could easily overturn the Obama-era HUD no smoking policies but has failed to do so, as of the date of this writing.
Per the HUD-provided fact sheet entitled Preparing for Your Smoke-free Home currently being distributed throughout the nation’s 600+ PHA facilities, the new regulations are largely designed to prevent second-hand smoking-related illnesses and disease. HUD officials also hope that the new rules will encourage current smokers to quit while discouraging young people from taking up smoking in the first place.
When the new smoke-free policies were first announced in November 2016, scientists from San Diego State University (SDSU) released research indicating that vaping is not as toxic to indoor spaces as smoking. The research was even conducted inside PHA facilities and clearly determined that indoor vaping reduces related indoor toxicants by about 50 percent in homes where indoor smoking was previously allowed. The SDSU study entitled Fine particles in homes of predominantly low-income families with children and smokers: Key physical and behavioral determinants to inform indoor-air-quality interventions is readily available per the Public Library of Science (PLOS).
Related Article: Study shows reduced air pollution in households that vape