Smoke-Free Housing Policy
SummaryThe Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) implemented a smoke-free housing policy for all of its residential properties on September 1, 2015. Smoking is prohibited in public housing units and common areas including outdoor patios, hallways, stairwells and parking lots. Smoking is only allowed in designated outdoor areas.
This policy applies to any and all persons entering HACA residential public housing properties including HACA residents, their guests and visitors, HACA partners, contractors and HACA employees.
HACA’s Smoke-Free Housing Policy is focused on the act of smoking, not the smoker. The purpose of the policy is to create a healthier, safer, and cleaner living environment for all of its residents. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time is dangerous. Smoke migrates between units in multi-family housing. HUD has strongly encouraged public housing authorities to adopt a smoke free policy since 2009.
Definition of SmokingSmoking is defined as inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, electronic cigarette, pipe, weed, plant, or any combustible substance in any manner or in any form.
HACA Tenants Prefer Smoke-Free HousingA 2013 survey shows that the majority of HACA residents support a smoke-free policy. The survey also found the majority of residents are non-smokers but experience and are bothered by tobacco smoke entering their homes. A significant percentage of tenants reported having asthma and/or other health conditions like lung disease and cancer. Overall tenants showed support for health programming and interest in smoking cessation assistance.
Designated Smoking AreasSmoking is only allowed in areas designated with smoking signs.
Smoke-Free Policy Enforcement
Tenants are required to sign a lease addendum acknowledging HACA’s smoke-free policy. Violation of the smoke-free policy will be considered a breach of the lease and may be grounds for eviction.
1st violation – written warning and referral to cessation services
2nd violation – written letter of lease violation and referral to cessation services
3rd violation – probation and referral to cessation services
4th violation – 30-day notice of lease-termination.
HACA may suspend lease termination process if the family agrees to attend a HACA approved smoking cessation class and present HACA with a certificate of completion and a signed commitment to comply with HACA’s Smoke-free Housing Policy.
Enforcement progression is based on violations per household, not per tenant.
Cessation Support for TenantsHACA is partnering with Austin Travis County Integral Care to provide residents with access to free smoking cessation services and products.
Tobacco-Free classes will be offered from 1 to 2 p.m. every Monday Tuesday and Wednesday at North Loop, Gaston Place, and Lakeside, respectively.
Attendees will receive:
- Information on creating a personal quit plan
- Information on nicotine replacement therapy and other quit medications
- Resources available in the community and online
- Strategies and skills to cope with cravings and urges
The following are additional available free resources to help public housing residents and employees quit smoking:
Texas Department of Health and Human Services Quit Line: 1 (877) YES-QUIT (937-7848)
- Free phone counseling
- Free nicotine replacement therapy for those who qualify
- Information and referrals to other local smoking cessation services
You may also text “Quit” to 47848 to receive encouragement and assistance while trying to quit smoking.