Improving Health For All
Enforcing a tobacco-free policy... it's easier than you think!
The purpose of a tobacco-free policy is to protect your property from damage and fire as well as to protect tenants from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smokefree policies save the property owners money as turnover costs are much lower in units in which smoking has not occurred and insurances rates can be lower in tobacco-free buildings.
Implementing and Enforcing Smoke-Free Housing Policy
THE FOLLOWING TIPS MAY BE HELPFUL IN IMPLEMENTING A TOBACCO-FREE POLICY
Post signs about the policy in the lobby, common areas and playgrounds (see Young Lungs at Play).
Promote the building(s) tobacco-free status in all advertising, on your website and on free rental/apartment locator search sites. Free signs are available- contact WellSpan Health for more information.
Ensure that the penalties are listed in the policy. Often they match penalties for other housing violations. When notified of a tobacco-use violation, act quickly and consistently.
Have resources available for residents who want to quit smoking including both local cessation programs and those through the American Lung Association.
Find the Answers
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A TOBACCO-FREE DWELLING OR APARTMENT?
A tobacco-free apartment is one where tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes, is not permitted in the unit and adjacent units sharing the same common air handling or HVAC system. This assures that cigarette smoke and vapor will not drift from one unit to another.
Tobacco-use can also be restricted to designated locations or not permitted on grounds at all.
IS IT ILLEGAL FOR A LANDLORD OR OWNER TO DESIGNATE UNITS TOBACCO-FREE?
It is legal for a landlord or apartment building owner or manager to designate rental units as tobacco-free. Because increasingly renters prefer tobacco-free properties, it is also an economic advantage for landlords and owners to market at least some properties as smoke-free. In some cases, residents are willing to pay a premium to rent tobacco-free apartments.
DON'T INDIVIDUALS HAVE A "RIGHT" TO SMOKE IN THEIR HOMES IF THEY CHOOSE?
There is no legal right to smoke. Smokers are not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or other federal law.
WHY IS THERE SUCH CONCERN ABOUT SECONDHAND SMOKE IN WORKPLACES, PUBLIC PLACES AND LIVING SPACES?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50,000 deaths occur annually in the United States as a result of secondhand smoke-related illnesses, including from heart disease, asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory ailments.
It is a Group A carcinogen – a substance known to cause cancer in humans for which there is no safe level of exposure.
Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and middle ear infections in children have also been linked to second-hand smoke.
According to the American Association of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the only means of effectively eliminating health risks associated with indoor exposure to tobacco smoke is to ban smoking activity.