Voluntary Smoke-Free Policies in Multi-Unit Housing
A community assessment conducted in 2009 identified the need for smoke-free housing in apartment complexes located in the greater Auburn area. Thirteen apartment complexes in Auburn and Colfax have already prohibited smoking in their units because they found that it is good for business and good for their tenants. The Placer County Tobacco Prevention Program is announcing its “Placer County Smoke-Free Housing Campaign” to help other interested owners who want to voluntarily convert their properties to at least 50% smoke-free.
This issue is important to the health and wellbeing of renters because:
- Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Class A carcinogen (a substance known to cause cancer in human with NO safe level of exposure) (Secondhand Smoke Facts: Retrieved on March 30, 2005).
- 83.5% of Placer County adult residents do not smoke. (CA Dept. of Health Services/Tobacco Control Section - C-STATS Website, http://www.cstats.info 12.20.07).
- 84.8% of Placer County residents do allow any smoking in their home (CA Dept. of Health Services/Tobacco Control Section - C-STATS Website, http://www.cstats.info 5/2011).
- 98.3% of Placer County residents think that secondhand smoke harms children and babies . (CA Dept. of Health Services/Tobacco Control Section - C-STATS Website, http://www.cstats.info 12.20.07).
Why should apartment complexes become smoke-free?
It's better for tenants!
Tobacco smoke is a toxic air contaminant that drifts into others units through open windows, doors, hallways, vents, outlets, and other spaces created for electrical, or pluming (American Lung Association, 2010).
- Secondhand smoke is cancer causing, and kills an estimated 4,000 Californians every year.
- Third-hand smoke is the residue from tobacco smoke that sticks to fabric, carpets, drapes and other surfaces and is very hard to remove. This substance is cancer causing and can cause dust that triggers allergies.
- Secondhand smoke can cause ear infections and asthma in children and infants. It has also been linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and is particularly hazardous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions.
- Smoking in units increases the likelihood of fires and property damage. Cigarette litter contributes to toxic substances that soil plants and wildlife.
It's legal, easy, and better for owners!
- Prohibiting smoking in units reduces maintenance and cleaning costs and may reduce insurance costs as smoking materials are a leading cause of house fires.
- Apartment owners are free to create voluntary policies which prohibit indoor and outdoor smoking throughout their entire complex. They can do this for new or existing tenants, the same way that they are free to ban pets.
Healthier tenants are happier tenants and banning smoking reduces conflict between tenants.
How can the Placer County Smoke-Free Housing Campaign help to create more smoke-free apartment complexes?
- Provide complexes with survey results to find out what residents think about the complex going smoke-free.
- Send owners/managers a letter telling them about the smoke-free campaign and offering technical assistance on how to do it.
- Provide apartments with free no-smoking signs, sample policies, and templates for lease agreements if they are willing to go smoke-free.
- Put owners in contact with other local successful smoke-free apartment owners or managers to help troubleshoot barriers or challenges.
- Provide media recognition for complexes going smoke-free while educating the public to garner more awareness and support.
For more information please contact
Tobacco Prevention Program