HOUSTON -- The Houston Housing Authority has instituted a smoke-free policy intended to snuff out the consequences of direct or secondhand tobacco exposure, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Residents and their guests are no longer allowed to smoke inside units, common areas, offices or within 25 feet of entrances.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been encouraging public housing agencies to implement smoke-free policies since at least 2010.

There's a growing body of evidence that firsthand, secondhand and thirdhand smoke are all bad, housing authority president and CEO Tory Gunsolley said late Friday. We're going to be bringing in smoking cessation programs and a higher level of awareness of just how dangerous secondhand smoke is.

All residents were asked to sign lease amendments that incorporated the new policy, which will be enforced as of April 1, Gunsolley said.

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