Presentation by Sarah Mayberry, Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine, on the dangers of secondhand smoke and how to develop a smoke-free housing policy at the Maine Asthma Coalition's Healthy Homes Training
Smoke-Free Housingas a Healthy Homes Initiative
Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine – who are we?A non-profit group comprised of over 50 public health advocates, tenants, landlords, property managers, environmental health professionals, legal professionals and many others. We educate and advocate for voluntary policy change. The Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine, along with the Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network and Maine Tobacco-Free College Network are initiatives of the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine.
Why is there such concern aboutsecondhand smoke in workplaces, public places and living spaces?
• Surgeon General says there is NO risk-free level of exposure. SHS is a Group A carcinogen– a substance known to cause cancer in humans for which there is no safe level of exposure.• Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemical compounds – more than 69 of which are known to cause cancer in humans.• Secondhand Smoke causes 30 times as many lung cancer deaths as all regulated air pollutants combined.
• Over 38,000 deaths annually in the United States are the result of secondhand smoke related diseases.• Infants, children, and the elderly are extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of secondhand smoke.• Secondhand smoke causes and worsens respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and broncitis• Secondhand smoke increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and middle ear infections in children
• Secondhand smoke is of particular concern to elderly and disabled persons, especially those with heart or respiratory disease or disorders, such as emphysema, asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease or allergies• Children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home are 44% more likely to suffer from asthma• Secondhand smoke is a major health threat to all persons with asthma and can sometimes be fatal
Secondhand smoke is as deadly as vehicle exhaust, arsenic, lead, asbestos, and a host of other toxins
• Thirdhand smoke is residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette is extinguished. •Thirdhand smoke lingers on carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials after a cigarette has been put out. • Children are uniquely susceptible to thirdhand smoke exposure.Journal of Pediatrics, 2009
• Maine’s Medical Marijuana Act doesn’t affect smoke-freepolicies: “A landlord may prohibit the smoking of marijuanafor medical purposes on the premises of the landlord if thelandlord prohibits all smoking on the premises and postsnotice to that effect on the premises.”• Housing that receives federal funding (such as publichousing authorities) fall under federal laws and use ofmarijuana, including for medicinal purposes, is prohibited.
• No Ventilation System is effective in removal of toxins fromthe air – up to 65% of air is exchanged between units• Secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by ventilation or aircleaning: On June 30, 2005, the American Society of Heating,Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issuedtheir latest position document on secondhand smoke, whichstates: “At present, the only means of effectively eliminatingthe health risk associated with indoor exposure is to bansmoking activity.”Center for Energy & Environment, 2004.
• Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors,65% of their time in the home.• Almost everyone who lives with somebody who smokesindoors is exposed to secondhand smoke. Children and teensare more likely than adults to live in homes where someonesmokes indoors.• About 54% of children (aged 3–11 years) are exposed tosecondhand smoke. Children are most heavily exposed athome.
To be a Healthy Home, it must be a Smoke-Free Home!
• Smoking damages residential property: • Costing landlords more money • Poses a fire hazard (leading cause of residential fire deaths in Maine and the United State) • Causes cigarette burn damage to carpets, counters, etc •Leaves smoke residue on walls and curtains
Why Should You Care?• According to the State Fire Marshal: • In 2007, 34 residential fires were caused by an improperly discarded cigarette. • Smoking-related fires were the cause of 34.2% residential fatalities between 1998-2007.
But…Isn’t smoking a “right”? – There is no legal right to smoke. – Nothing stops a landlord from prohibiting smoking on property.
In Fact• Tenants negatively impacted by secondhand smoke actually have the right to seek legal action against tenants or landlords who do not make adequate provisions to protect them from secondhand smoke.
So, What Can We Legally Do?• Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe states that neither federal nor Maine law prohibits a landlord from making his/her apartment building totally smoke-free.“The easiest way to ensure that secondhand smoke is not a risk is to adopt a non-smoking policy.” – Former ME Attorney General Steve Rowe
• The smoke-free housing initiative is supported by key federalagencies including the CDC, EPA and HUD.• The Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment has released two noticesencouraging smoke-free housing forpublic housing authorities (2009)and subsidized housing (2010)• Smoke-free housing messaging is becoming a part of thegrowing Healthy Homes and Green Housing initiatives.
Who is adopting policies in Maine? • Public Housing Authorities • Private Developments (subsidized and market-rate) • “Mom and Pop” Landlords • Condominium Associations • Behavioral Health Facilities • Group Homes and Transitional Housing Developments • Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities
• 78% of tenants surveyed throughout the state ofMaine prefer to live in a smoke-free environment• 45.5% of Maine landlords report that they have awritten smoke-free policy for at least one of theirbuildings•Many property management companies have adoptedwritten smoke-free housing policies for their buildings
Smoke-Free Public Housing Authorities in Maine:Auburn Housing Authority Bangor Housing AuthorityBar Harbor Housing Authority Bath Housing AuthorityBrewer Housing Authority Brunswick Housing AuthorityCumberland Housing Authority Ellsworth Housing AuthorityFort Fairfield Housing Authority Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians H.A.Lewiston Housing Authority Mount Desert Island Housing AuthorityOld Town Housing Authority Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy H.A.Portland Housing Authority Presque Isle Housing AuthoritySanford Housing Authority South Portland Housing AuthoritySouthwest Harbor Housing Authority Tremont Housing AuthorityWaterville Housing Authority Westbrook Housing AuthorityYork Housing Authority
What are the steps involved in policy adoption?1. Make a plan. Start by creating a plan to make the entire residence smoke-free.2. Hold a Meeting. Gather with tenants to discuss the change. There may beresistance, but remember, non-smoking tenants have rights under their leases,too.3. Inform Tenants. Review the legal information concerning your rights andyour tenants rights.4. Amend New Leases. Change the language of your lease to include yournew smoke-free policy. When new tenants sign on, your policy will be crystalclear.5. Promote Your Status. Begin advertising your smoke-free status to gainnew tenants who appreciate a clean air environment.
How do landlords communicate policy change to their tenants…effectively?• Meetings • Scheduling group meetings, especially at large developments, is an efficient way to notify all your residence of policy change• Letters • Notification should always be in writing so that both you and the tenant of record of communication about the policy• Signage • Tenants, and especially their guests, will need to be reminded that there is no smoking in your building. Post no-smoking signs around so everyone is aware
What about grandfathering?• As long as tenants are grandfathered, people are still being exposed to secondhand smoke.• Grandfathering clauses are meant to help transition current, smoking tenants into the policy, not as a permanent provision of the smoke-free policy.• There is no reason a tenant should be grandfathered for more than 6 to 12 months. When leases are renewed, all tenants, should be expected to obey the smoke-free policy for the health, and benefit, of all parties.
What about enforcement?• Provide adequate signage to remind both tenants and guests of the policy.• Offer tenants information or access to cessation/treatment programs available.• For properties with high smoking rates, and land, create outdoor designated smoking areas.
• Education materials (fact sheets, brochures, sample policies,video, etc); Support materials (window clings, magnets, keychains) – all available for free from the Smoke-Free HousingCoalition of Maine•Smoke-Free Homes Pledge – families can pledge to keep their homes smoke-free and will receive a free smoke-free fun pack
www.MaineHousingSearch.org-Statewide Housing Registry – FREE for Landlords and Tenants-Can search for housing by the smoking/smoke-free policystatus
www.SmokeFreeforME.orgSarah Mayberry, firstname.lastname@example.orgFind us on Facebook: Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of MainePast presentations available atwww.slideshare.net/breatheeasy