• April 23, 2024

Court Upholds Public Housing Smoking Ban

 Court Upholds Public Housing Smoking Ban
Photo: stockelements

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is entitled to ban smoking in federally subsidized public housing, an appeals court ruled on Aug. 25, reports Reuters.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the HUD properly enacted a 2016 rule requiring state and local public housing agencies to ban cigarettes, cigars and pipes inside housing units and indoor common spaces, and outside within 25 feet of those areas.

Six tenants and a smokers’ rights group challenged the ban, saying it improperly invaded their privacy and violated due process by preventing them from engaging in lawful activity—using tobacco—inside the home.

But Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan said HUD provided “considerable” evidence that the rule helped protect residents against the health risks of secondhand smoke, prevent fires and reduce property maintenance costs. The HUD, he said, did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in promulgating the rule.

Srinivasan also rejected a claim that the ban improperly restricted how the government spends money, violating a provision of the U.S. Constitution governing federal spending.

The plaintiffs plan an appeal, arguing that the case involves significant issues involving federalism and whether Congress actually empowered HUD to ban smoking.

Srinivasan’s decision in NYC CLASH Inc et al v Fudge, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-5126 upheld a March 2020 lower court ruling.