Smokefree Policy in Public Housing Takes Effect at the End of July

URBANDALE, Iowa – Over 6,000 Iowa residents who live in public housing must soon abide by a smokefree policy.

In 2016 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ruled  all federally owned public housing must become smoke free by July 30, 2018.

American Lung Association Health Promotions Specialist Alyssa DePhillips said 6,223 people in the state live in public housing.

“In Iowa about 34 percent of people that live in public housing smoke. That’s double the average amount of Iowa smoking rate. This rule, it doesn’t require them to quit. It just requires them to go outside 25 feet from the building,” DePhillips said

The new rule is to help prevent people from getting secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause negative health effects like lung cancer, asthma, trigger heart attacks, strokes and more.

“Second hand smoke can travel completely through the apartment buildings. So, second hand smoke can travel through the windows, the ventilation systems, but even through electrical outlets, cracks and doorways and the plumbing,” DePhillips said.

DePhillips said the rule applies to all lit tobacco products. It does not include electronic cigarettes.