WASHINGTON : Smoking will be banned in all US public housing as of fall 2018 to reduce the exposure of residents to secondhand smoke, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development said on Wednesday. Healthcare groups including the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long sought the ban because of the numerous illnesses secondhand smoke causes, including asthma attacks, respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome. The ban is expected to affect two million Americans, including 760,000 children and more than 300,000 senior citizens who live in more than 940,000 public housing units, HUD said. More than 600 of the nation’s 3,100 public housing agencies already prohibit indoor smoking.  The new rule extends the ban to smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes within 25 feet of all federally owned apartments, public areas and administrative offices.

Electronic cigarettes are exempted.