The regulations proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development described in the Nov. 13 Federal Eye column, “Plan to snuff smoking in public housing” [The Fed Page], are flawed. There is almost no evidence that proposals to prevent public housing tenants from smoking in their apartments are practical or enforceable.

The few studies that have been done on multi-unit housing where smoking has been banned show that the majority of tenants who smoke ignore the prohibitions. The cost of enforcing an all-out smoking ban likely would be quite high, and higher still if it were expanded to include less-dangerous nicotine products such as chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes.

In the context of a sustained effort to encourage smokers to quit or, at least, switch to safer forms of nicotine, a ban might be possible. As a free-standing effort, however, it seems almost certain to fail.

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