The Benefits of Smoke-Free Housing

Smoking has fallen out of fashion in the U.S. The number of Americans who smoke is at the lowest rate in over sixty years. According to the CDC only 18.1% of American adults smoke cigarettes, down from 41% in 1940 and 26% in 2000. Smoking is prohibited in indoor public spaces in 28 states, and banned in any establishment that serves minors in another 12 states. Following national trends toward non-smoking, more and more property owners and managers are turning their properties 100% smoke-free. A smoke-free property is one where smoking is prohibited anywhere in the building and premises, or one where smoking is limited to a specified, outdoor area. There are significant health and financial benefits of smoke-free properties for residents and property owners alike.

Smoke-free policies are popping up all over the country, in small and large markets.
Smoke-free policies are popping up all over the country, in small and large markets.

Banish secondhand smoke!

The negative health effects of secondhand smoke are well documented. If one unit in a multi unit dwelling is occupied by a smoker, other residents are at risk for secondhand smoke exposure. The NYC Coalition for Smoke-Free Housing estimates that 65% of air is shared between units due to air movement through open windows or doors, via electrical ducting or shared ventilation systems, and through gaps around window frames, floorboards, or ceilings. The only way to protect residents from secondhand smoke is to designate your properties as smoke-free.

Smoking raises blood pressure…and your turnover costs!

Renting to smokers will cost you. According to a study conducted by MultiFamily Insider, it is 3 times more expensive to rehabilitate a unit of a smoker than a non-smoker, on average. In order to rid a unit of the lingering smell of smoke, expect to repaint the entire unit including the ceiling, clean and possibly replace carpet and padding, and thoroughly clean baseboards, lighting fixtures, cabinets, appliances, and closet organization systems. In severe cases, an ozone treatment may be required to clean the smell of smoke from the heating and cooling units. Going smoke-free makes a big difference during turnover.

Smoke-free policies lower your risk of fire.
Smoking is the leading cause of house fires.

Smoke-free apartments have lowered fire risks.

Smoking is the leading cause of residential home fires in the U.S according to The National Fire Protection Association. Smoking tobacco products caused 19% of all home fire deaths in 2011. Turning your properties smoke-free greatly reduces the risk of fire, and ensures resident safety. Insurance companies offer credits and discounts for smoke-free properties, often as much as 10% annually. Smoke-free apartments can result in significant yearly savings for property owners.

Going smoke-free is your right.

Choosing to turn a property smoke-free is a simple, largely self-enforcing process. There are no federal, state, or county laws that prohibit property managers and owners from choosing a smoke-free policy. Smokers are not included in housing discrimination policies, and providing an outdoor area for smokers is an easy way to prevent complaints from residents who smoke. Some states even offer incentive programs and tax credits to developers who choose to implement smoke-free policies in their properties.

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Elizabeth Hayes

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By Elizabeth Hayes

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