Smoke-Free Homes and Multi-Unit Housing

 

 

smokefree home

Secondhand and Thirdhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoke exhaled by a smoker.

People who breathe secondhand smoke face many of the same health risks as the smoker—including an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke has been classified as a human cancer-causing agent. It is the number one cause of indoor air pollution. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Did you know:
• Breathing in someone else’s cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke can make you and your children sick.
• Children who live in homes where people smoke may get sick more often with coughs, wheezing, ear infections, bronchitis or pneumonia.
• Children with asthma may have asthma attacks that are more severe or occur more often.
• Secondhand smoke can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS.
• Opening windows or using fans or air conditioners will not stop secondhand smoke exposure.
• The U.S. Surgeon General says that secondhand smoke can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS.
• Secondhand smoke also can cause lung cancer and heart disease.

Thirdhand smoke refers to the toxins from cigarette smoke that stick to soft surfaces, such as carpets, curtains and furniture.

People who breathe secondhand smoke face many of the same health risks as the smoker—including an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke has been classified as a human cancer-causing agent. It is the number one cause of indoor air pollution. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Through thirdhand smoke, people can be exposed to the same toxins found in secondhand tobacco smoke. Children, elderly adults and people with disabilities can be especially vulnerable to secondhand and thirdhand smoke. The toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke can stay in the air for hours. Thirdhand smoke can stick to surfaces for weeks. Smoking in a separate room, opening a window or turning on a fan cannot remove all of the toxic chemicals from the air.

Take the Smoke-Free Home Pledge

The only way to fully protect your family and friends from secondhand and thirdhand smoke exposure is to keep your home 100-percent smoke free. Always step outside of the home, away from doors and windows, to smoke. Ask your friends and family members to do the same. All Licking County residents, including smokers and non-smokers, are encouraged to take the smoke-free home pledge.

Keeping a smoke-free home and car can help improve your health, the health of your children and the health of your community.

Take the Smoke-Free Home Pledge

Apartments, Townhomes and Condos

In apartments and other multi-unit housing, secondhand smoke can drift from one unit to another. Research has shown up to 65% of air can be exchanged between units. Smoke can travel through lighting fixtures, cracks in walls, around plumbing, under doors and through shared ventilation, involuntarily exposing individuals in other units. Ventilation and air purification systems do not fully eliminate these toxins from the air. The only way to completely prevent secondhand smoke exposure is to adopt a 100-percent smoke-free policy to apply to all indoor areas of the property, including individual units and common areas. Smoke-free policies are good for residents’ health and the owner’s bottom line.

Why Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing?

• It protects residents, employees and visitors from secondhand smoke.
• Tenants want smoke-free homes.
• 75% of Licking County residents do not smoke.
• Property managers and owners can save money on turnover costs and insurance.
• It is legal! Smokers are not a protected class. Smoke-free policies are not considered discriminatory.

multi-unit turnover

Cost Savings

Average cost to turnover one unit

Smoke can attach to walls, flooring and appliances leaving behind smoke residue, a smell and yellow coloring. When a tenant moves out, units must be cleaned and prepared for the next tenant. Turnover costs can be two to seven times greater in a smoking unit compared to maintaining and turning over a smoke-free unit.

A study published in April 2013 estimated eliminating smoking in all U.S. subsidized housing would save $521 million per year, including $108 million in yearly renovation costs and $72 million in smoking-related fire losses. Click here to read a report about this study.

Additional points:

  • Some insurance companies offer discounts on property casualty insurance for multi-unit owners with a 100% smoke-free policy.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of fire deaths in the U.S. For more information on smoking related fires in residential buildings, read this report.

How can the Licking County Health Department help?

The Licking County Health Department is offering individualized assistance to multi-unit housing owners and managers, local Housing Authorities, and local decision-making bodies to adopt a smoke-free policy. This assistance is available at no cost to the facility. The Licking County Health Department can assist in the following ways:
• Provide information to help initiate the process of policy creation or revision.
• Provide sample surveys to assess resident and employee concerns.
• Assist with policy formation or revision.
• Assist with development of an implementation plan.
• Supply sample communication materials.
• Identify signage needs and provide free signs for the campus.
• Offer strategies to enhance compliance and support for the new policy.
• Provide educational tools and materials that can be used for resident education.
• Provide information about local tobacco cessation resources.

Links and Resources

Resources for Residents

There is No Constitutional Right to Smoke: 2008
Smoke-Free Housing Toolkit for Residents  
Allen County, Ohio, smoke-free toolkit for tenants

Resources for Property Managers/Owners

Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing handout
There is No Constitutional Right to Smoke: 2008
Change is in the Air: An Action Guide for Establishing Smoke-Free Public Housing and Multi-Family Properties
CDC Healthy Homes Manual: Smoke-Free Policies in Multi-Unit Housing
How Landlords can Prohibit Smoking
Smoke-Free Policies in Multi-Unit Housing: Steps for Success
Smoke-Free Housing Toolkit for Public Housing Authorities and Owners/Management Agents

Additional Resources

Live Smoke Free  
Infiltration of Secondhand Smoke into Condominiums, Apartments and Other Multi-Unit Dwellings: 2009
Smoke-Free Sarasota Videos

Tobacco Cessation Resources

Ohio Tobacco Quit Line 1-800-QUIT-NOW (or 1-800-784-8669) Free telephone counseling for uninsured Ohioans, Medicaid recipients, pregnant women and members of the Ohio Tobacco Collaborative. Nicotine replacement therapy available for eligible patients.
BecomeAnEX.org is a free, interactive website that shows smokers how to re-learn life without cigarettes.
Ohio Quitlogix Free 24/7 online help for all Ohioans
Licking Memorial Hospital “Quit for Your Health” program 740-348-7848 Free in-person counseling for all Licking County residents. Nicotine replacement therapy available.
BecomeAnEX.org is a free, interactive website that shows smokers how to re-learn life without cigarettes.
Smokefree.gov

Funding is provided to the Licking County Health Department by the Ohio Department of Health, Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program, which is supported by Cooperative Agreement number 5U58DP001983-05 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of either the Ohio Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.