Smoke-Free Housing Talking Points, Maine, June 2010


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Smoke-Free Housing Talking Points, Maine, June 2010

  1. 1. Smoke-Free Housing Talking Points Smoke-free policies are about the smoke, not the smoker. While an added benefit of smoke-free policy adoption is that it encourages smokers to quiti, or reduce their tobacco consumption, the actual goal of policy implementation is to protect individuals from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoke-free policies do not require anyone to quit smoking. A smoke-free policy asks tenants and guests to take their smoking behavior outside for the safety of the property and the health of all occupants. Smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths in Maine and the United States, and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and displacement of families ii. In single occupancy units of public housing, studies have shown that a smoke-free policy can save landlords $500-$3000 in turnover costsiii associated with smoking indoors. In Maine, 18 of 20 (90%) of public housing authorities have a smoke-free policy in place. A November 2009 telephonic survey by the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine found approximately 41% of private landlords own and manage a building with a smoke-free policy. This is a 10% increase from 2008. 78% of Maine tenants surveyed--smokers and nonsmokers alike--report a desire to live in a smoke- Smoke-Free Housing Talking Points free environment.iv Despite the use of commercial-grade ventilation systems, 5-65% of air in multiunit buildings is still AKO 06/22/10 exchanged between units.v 1
  2. 2. There is no 'one-sized fits all' approach to policy adoption: it is important to landlords to adopt policies that meet the needs of their property and their tenants, whether that is to ban smoking in the indoor of the building, provide designated smoking areas, or ban tobacco use completely from the confines of their property. Cessation is an important component of smoke-free policy adoption. For those who want to quit, or reduce their tobacco use, there are several resources in Maine--including the Maine Tobacco Helpline--to assist these residents. A home is not a healthy home unless it is a smoke-free home. While the government regulates several home environmental health hazards, including lead, mold and asbestos, smoking behavior is unregulated in housing. By eliminating smoking in multiunit housing landlords are eliminating the number one causes of preventable death in the place people spend the majority of their time. There is no "right" to smoke, but all people have the right to breathe clean air and live in a home free of health hazards. Smoke-free living is becoming the norm, not the exception. i Moskowitz, et al., “The impact of workplace smoking ordinances in California on smoking cessation,” American Journal of Public Health 90 (5) 757-761, (2000). ii B.N. Leistikow, D.C. Martin, and C.E. Milano, “Fire Injuries, Disasters, and Costs from Cigarettes and Cigarette Lights: A Gl obal Overview,” Preventative Medicine 31 (2): 93 (2002). Smoke-Free Housing Talking Points iii Analysis provided by Sanford Housing Authority, 2004 and Auburn Housing Authority, 2006, and Seton Village, Waterville, ME, 2008. iv Lewiston, Auburn, Brunswick, Presque Isle and Sanford Housing Authority public housing surveys, 2004-2006. v American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Environmental Tobacco Smoke Position Document. Atlanta: June 30, 2005. AKO 06/22/10 2