Public housing must have smoke-free rules within 18 months

All public housing agencies in the United States must have a smoke-free policy within 18 months, under a Department of Housing and Urban Development rule released Wednesday. The smoke-free rule will create smoke-free spaces in living units, indoor common areas and agency offices.

The rule is intended to protect residents, staff and visitors from secondhand smoke, to reduce fire risk and to maintenance costs and provide cleaner air in public housing facilities.

Minnesota has had a statewide smoking ban covering nearly all indoor public spaces since 2007, but the ban did not include smoking in individual or multi-unit housing.

The Minnesota Department of Health says the state is “well positioned” to offer smoke-free living to all public housing residents, with smoking restrictions already in place at most public housing buildings and grounds.

“This change will help protect some of the most vulnerable people in our state – children and older adults – and will encourage more people to quit smoking,” said a statement from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

Property managers and directors can learn more about HUD’s new rule and get resources at