Starting Monday, smoking is now officially banned at all public housing units nationwide, including South Carolina.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the plans in November 2016, but gave public housing authorities 18 months to prepare by creating their own local rules. The HUD regulations would only impact traditional public housing facilities which receive federal funding and not mixed-use housing which also relies on private funding.
“The health benefits to residents is substantial,” HUD’s South Carolina state director Kristine Foy said. “Research also shows smoke affects nonsmokers, as well. It can travel from one unit to the next or between units into hallways or other common areas.”
The new regulations ban the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes or hookahs inside public housing units. It also now bans smoking within 25 of a housing unit or administrative building.
“We understand this is going to pose some challenges for people,” she said. ”
Foy said most of South Carolina’s 36 local housing authorities have already made their own bans in expectation of this change. HUD oversees more than 13,000 units in the state.
The new regulation does not apply to those housing authorities — such as Columbia and Greenville — which operate mixed-unit housing funded predominantly by other sources. Authorities which use federal funding for traditional housing, such as Charleston, will be impacted by the change. Most of the state’s authorities already switched over to the new rules in anticipation of Monday’s deadline.