NEW YORK CITY — The Obama administration has banned smoking in NYCHA residences and public housing developments nationwide.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development's new rule mandates that NYCHA and approximately 3,100 other public housing agencies implement smoke-free policies over the next 18 months, HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced in Boston on Wednesday.
Castro noted that childhood asthma was a primary reason to implement the ban.
"Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful second-hand cigarette smoke," he said in a statement.
"HUD's rule will create healthier homes for all of our families."
Under the new rule, cigarettes, cigars and pipes cannot be lit in NYCHA apartments, indoor common areas, administrative offices or within 25 feet of public housing buildings.
Until now, smoking has only been prohibited in NYCHA building lobbies, hallways and stairwells.
Approximately 400,000 NYCHA residents will be impacted by the ban, according to estimates from NYC Smoke-Free, an anti-tobacco nonprofit institute based in New York.
One-third of NYCHA residents reported having at least one child with asthma, according to NYC Smoke-Free findings.
The nonprofit also found that adult NYCHA residents are two times as likely to suffer from asthma than other New York adults.
More than 940,000 public housing units will become smoke-free nationwide and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will save about $94 million in secondhand smoke-related health care, $43 million in repairs, and $16 million in fire losses.
A survey conducted by NYCHA in 2012 found that 75 percent of its residents would prefer to live in apartment buildings where smoking was banned.