By Tessa Berenson
November 12, 2015

A federal rule proposed Thursday would ban smoking in public housing nationwide.

The rule, proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says that eliminating smoking from public homes would “improve indoor air quality in the housing, benefit the health of public housing residents and PHA staff, reduce the risk of catastrophic fires, and lower overall maintenance costs.”

The proposal also notes the dangers of secondhand smoke, saying, “Adverse effects of tobacco use are not limited to the smoker.” According to the proposal, the U.S. Surgeon general estimates that 41,000 adult nonsmokers are killed by secondhand tobacco smoke each year.

If implemented, the ban would affect more than 700,00 homes. The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposal, and housing agencies would have up to 18 months from the effective date of the final ruling to adopt smoke-free policies.

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

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