The Philadelphia Housing Authority on Thursday will consider banning smoking in some of its properties, a move that officials say would make it the largest public housing agency "in the nation to implement such a policy."
If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the measure would ban smoking in at least some of its units, which house about 80,000 low-income residents, a spokesman said Wednesday. The PHA would not say how comprehensive the ban would be.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 500 housing agencies, including those in Detroit, Boston, and San Antonio, have smoking bans in place.
PHA's measure follows mounting federal pressure on public housing agencies to curb smoking on their properties. In 2009, HUD issued a notice "strongly" encouraging housing authorities to prohibit smoking in all or some of their units, citing health risks associated with tobacco use and secondhand smoke.
Last October, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study that argued such smoking bans would yield financial benefits. The study estimated that banning smoking in all government-subsidized housing units would save about $497 million in health-care and housing costs per year.
PHA officials said the policy was designed "following intensive engagement with residents and health partners."
The PHA board will meet at 3 p.m. Thursday at the John F. Street Community Center, 1100 Poplar St.