A final rule requiring public housing agencies to adopt smoke-free policies does not prohibit use of electronic cigarettes in public housing units. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the final rule this week, in an effort to improve health and safety for public housing residents.
The Truth Initiative, an advocate for tobacco-free policies, reacted to the development in part with this comment from president and CEO Robin Koval: “While we believe e-cigarettes should be included in clean air policies concerning public places, we are pleased that the new rule does not limit the use of these products in individual homes as these products provide smokers with an alternative to smoking that produces far less individual harm.”
The free-market focused Heartland Institute stated that it was encouraging to see a federal government agency make a distinction in policy between tobacco and e-cigarettes. “E-cigarette use does not create the same externalities as tobacco use, because there are no tobacco leaves burning, so it would not have made sense to ban e-cigarette use in the name of public health, as some local and state governments have incorrectly decided to do,” said institute budget policy analyst Jesse Hathaway. The institute, however, would have supported allowing tobacco use in public housing as well.