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Smoking ban in NYCHA starts, violators could lose apartments

NEW YORK — It’s been several years since New Yorkers lost their right to smoke in city restaurants, but they were always free to smoke inside their own home; that all changed Monday for public housing residents

Several hundred thousand NYCHA residents are now barred from smoking in their apartments, hallways or even outside. There's no smoking within 25 feet of a New York City Housing Authority building. The change wasn't welcomed by at least one smoker.

The ban was created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, but it’s the city’s job to enforce it.

"Chronic diseases are preventable and we think this policy, in the years to come, you will see the impact," NYC Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Javier Lopez said.

A NYCHA spokesperson tells PIX there are no fines coming to smokers who violate the ban, but on the ground, the local agency will implement a graduated enforcement policy that includes an informal resolution process of meetings and warns repeated violations can trigger a tenancy violation. New Yorkers can lose their apartment if they violate the smoking ban.

“HUD believes that allowing a PHA (public housing agency) to enforce its smoke free policy through lease enforcement actions is the best way to ensure compliance with such policies," the rules read.