Disabled Could Be Biggest Victims If HUD Pushes ‘Cruel’ E-Cigarette Ban In Public Housing


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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) threat to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public housing has been slammed as “cruel” and “unenforceable” by one the nation’s leading champions of vaper’s rights.

HUD has opened a 60 day consultation on whether to include vaping in its blanket ban on smoking in public housing. The new rule would affect more than 700,000 units “including over 500,000 units inhabited by elderly households or households with a non-elderly person with disabilities.”

The American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have come out in favor of the ban saying e-cigarettes can expose people to nicotine and could pose a fire risk.

But the policy comes with a hefty price tag of $212.2 million and that’s not including the cost of enforcement, which HUD haven’t even calculated.

The suggestion that e-cigarettes, which are far less harmful than tobacco products, can be banned in the homes of some of the poorest Americans is being greeted with disdain by pro-vaping groups.

Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, said “for years, HUD tenants have had to deal with the consequences of rampant waste, fraud, and mismanagement by public housing bureaucrats.

“Now, the bullying bureaucrats want to stop smokers from switching to dramatically reduced risk products that are both smoke-free and tobacco-free.”

A study released in August by Public Health England found e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than tobacco and could be “game-changer” for getting people to quit smoking. While e-cigarettes may not be totally safe, they contain almost none of the chemicals in cigarettes associated with serious diseases like lung cancer and emphysema.

One of the biggest victims of an e-cigarette ban could be disabled vapers. HUD said the ban would not just cover people’s homes but all areas within 25 feet of public housing and the administrative buildings. As a result, disabled vapers could find themselves evicted for not adhering to the rules.

“There may be costs to residents as a result of eviction, particularly for persons with disabilities, and especially those with mobility impairments,” HUD said in a document released on Thursday.

“This proposal is cruel and absurd,” said Conley. “Vapor products create no smoke and leave behind no lingering smell, so outside of hiring peeping toms, there is simply no way to enforce such a ban.”

Executive director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association Julie Woessner agrees with Conley and said “it is unlikely that anyone who was dedicated to vaping instead of smoking would obey this rule since there is no way it could be enforced.”

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