By Marcella A. Maguire, Ph.D., Dawn A. Randolph, MPA, and Lea Simms

By July 30, 2018 approximately 1.2 million public housing units will have gone smoke-free, creating safer and healthier living conditions for individuals with behavioral health conditions across the country!

In November 2016, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that public housing developments in the U.S. had 18 months to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. Implementation of this rule presents a unique opportunity for behavioral health and other health care service providers to support public housing agencies (PHAs), housing owners, and housing agents to assist tenants who want to quit smoking.

The Role your Organization Can Play in Supporting this Transition

Your organization, whether a Community Behavioral Health Organization, an FQHC, or a nonprofit serving people with behavioral health conditions, can offer much needed support to PHAs.

  • Has your organization implemented a smoke-free policy? Share your experience and lessons learned with your local PHA!
  • Does your organization have peer specialists or other staff members certified in tobacco cessation? Your local PHA may be looking for tobacco cessation resources and referral services to support their residents in quitting smoking!
  • Does your organization have signage, toolkits, informational flyers/brochures or other smoking cessation materials? No need for your local PHA to reinvent the wheel, share your materials!

You can also learn more innovative ways to partner with PHAs by viewing the webinar Partnering with Public Housing to Reduce Tobacco Use where you will learn about three models of collaboration, as well as resources to fund this work. For quick facts, download our infographic Going Smoke-Free In Public Housing: How Behavioral Health Providers Can Help.

Information and Resources to get Started:

Still not sure where to start? Reach out to the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco & Cancer Control at and they can connect you with other behavioral health providers who have successfully partnered with PHAs to help support smoke free housing.

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