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National Smoke-Free Rule for PHAs


In December 2016, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a final rule (Rule) requiring each Public Housing Agency (PHA) administering low-income, conventional public housing to implement a smoke-free policy. The Rule prohibits lit tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings. The Rule took effect in February 2017 and included an 18-month implementation period, with all PHAs expected to comply and have a smoke-free policy in place by July 31, 2018. The goals of the new Rule are to:

  • improve the health of all PHA residents by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • reduce damage to PHA units (and subsequent repair and cleaning costs) caused by smoking;
  • and reduce fire risk.

As the new Rule is implemented, PHAs, as well as federal, state and local health agencies, will also promote a variety of cessation services (such as state quitlines) available to PHA residents who are interested in quitting.  In January 2016, NAQC submitted formal response in the form of a letter to HUD that strongly supported HUD’s proposal to implement a national smoke-free Rule for PHAs. NAQC’s response to HUDs request for comments was developed based on feedback submitted from NAQC members and stakeholders. Click here to read NACQ’s full response. Click here to read the final HUD Rule.

Smoke-Free Public Housing: Helping Smokers Quit


Project MapNAQC in partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California San Francisco (SCLC) implemented a national, project – Smoke-Free Public Housing: Helping Smokers Quit (SFPH:HSQ). With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the two-year project sought to foster cross-sector collaborations and widespread adoption of high-quality cessation services within the selected PHA communities and increase the demand for cessation services among PHA residents to reduce tobacco use and improve the overall health, well‐being and equity of PHA communities. Click here to learn more about the SFPH:HSQ initiative.

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Project Resources

Quitlines from five of the states, California, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, participated in the pilot. As part of this project, NAQC, in collaboration with the five participating quitlines developed several resources that demonstrate project outcomes, highlight lessons learned and outline opportunities for state quitlines to better engage CHCs and reach PHA residents. NAQC is pleased to share the following products developed through this project:

  • Tobacco Cessation Resource Directories. Resource directories were developed for each of the participating state quitlines. The directories can support quitlines, PHAs, Community Health Centers (CHCs), health care providers and others in connecting tobacco users who are interested in quitting with cessation services that best meet their needs. Each directory includes a broad list of national tobacco cessation resources available to and that can be accessed by tobacco users, regardless of state, that complies with the Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update. The directories feature the quitline along with face-to-face and online cessation resources
  • Tobacco Cessation Resource Directory Template for CHCs. The template directory can be used and customized to fit the needs of community health centers (CHCs) in any state. Please click here to request a copy of the template.
  • Establishing Referral Programs Between Quitlines and Community Health Centers: A Case Study. The case study conveys the importance of establishing referral systems between quitlines and CHCs. It describes the processes undertaken, outcomes achieved, and lessons learned from the state quitlines experience implementing referral systems with the participating CHC in their state.   
  • Webinars
  • How Quitlines are Increasing Access to Cessation Services Among PHA Residents through Collaboration with PHAs and CHCs (2019). During this webinar, two of the participating state quitlines shared progress achieved, successes and early lessons learned by quitlines during Project Year 1 (2019). The webinar presentation can be found here.
  • Increasing Access to Tobacco Cessation Services for PHA Residents by Establishing Referral Systems between Quitlines and CHCs (2020). This webinar discussed how the project facilitated connecting Public Housing Agency (PHA) residents to evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment and services; provided examples of how two state quitlines partnered with Community Health Centers (CHCs) and PHAs in their state to increase reach and connect PHA residents to evidence-based cessation tools and resources and highlighted opportunities for state quitlines to better engage PHAs and CHCs. The webinar presentation can be found here
Additional NAQC Smoke-Free Housing Resources

Report - Will HUD’s Smoke-free Rule Motivate Residents to Quit? Measuring the Number of Public Housing Residents Who Receive Quitline Services.
In 2018, NAQC received a grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that supported production of the new report, titled:
Will HUD’s Smoke-free Rule Motivate Residents to Quit? Measuring the Number of Public Housing Residents Who Receive Quitline Services. This report provides an overview of the process undertaken by NAQC to develop a standard intake question to assess the number of callers to state quitlines that reside in public housing and to gain adoption of the question. The report includes NAQC’s new time-limited optional intake question, survey information on states that have adopted or intend to adopt the question, and information from 29 states on their activities to support implementation of HUD’s new smokefree rule. Finally, the report features relevant resources from CDC, HUD, and NAQC.

Description: Quitline Map
Web Resources
– For information about quitline services in your state, please use NAQC’s free tool, an interactive map, which provides a profile on each state quitline with details about services offered, hours of operation, patient referrals, and more.  Click here to access NAQC’s Quitline Map.


National Smoke-Free Public Housing Resources 

Link to the HUD Rule and Smoke-Free Resources
This website provides the Final Rule Notice as well as resources to help PHA Owners/ Management Agents and residents plan for, implement, and build support for smoke-free policies for PHAs and Multifamily federally assisted properties. Resources available on the website include:

  • Implementing HUDs Smoke-Free Rule Guidebook with Fact Sheets, recommended 18-month Implementation Timeline and Checklist 
  • Smoke-Free Housing Action Guide that offers tips, real stories and best practices from experienced public housing administrators and owners/agents of multifamily housing. 
  • Smoke-Free Multifamily Housing Toolkits for Owners/Management Agents and Residents
  • Access to webinars on the smoke-free Rule

Information and resources can be accessed by visiting -


Link to CDC’s Healthy Home Webpage

A resource page that provides information on HUD’s smoke-free rule, information on effects of secondhand smoke and resources to quit smoking.

If you have questions or are looking for additional information on the smoke-free housing rule, please contact

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