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Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine Webinar Series Session 1
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Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine Webinar Series Session 1


This introductory webinar will take participants through the basics of smoke-free policy adoption. Learn how landlords can save upward of seven times on the turnover of their units by adopting a …

This introductory webinar will take participants through the basics of smoke-free policy adoption. Learn how landlords can save upward of seven times on the turnover of their units by adopting a smoke-free policy, the dangers secondhand smoke poses to residents and guests, and incentives and supports provided by municipal, state and federal agencies in regard to smoke-free policy adoption.

Published in Health & Medicine
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  • 1. The Clear Advantages of Smoke-Free Apartments
  • 2. Who We Are The Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine is 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.
  • 3. Mission To protect residents in multi-unit housing from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke. Vision A State where all citizens can live free from exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • 4. Why All The Fuss? • Why is there such concern about secondhand smoke in workplaces, public places and living spaces?
  • 5. Secondhand Smoke is Deadly • 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. • No ventilation system is effective in removal of toxins. • Up to 65% of air is exchanged between units. U.S. Surgeon General report, June 2006, Center for Energy & Environment, 2004.
  • 6. Secondhand Smoke is Deadly Secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by ventilation or air cleaning: On June 30, 2005, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued their latest position document on secondhand smoke. It states: “At present, the only means of effectively eliminating the health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”
  • 7. Secondhand Smoke is Deadly MORE deadly than vehicle exhaust, arsenic, lead, asbestos and a host of other toxins. U.S. Surgeon General report issued June 2006.
  • 8. Secondhand Smoke is Deadly • Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors; 65% of their time inside the home. (ALA, 1999) • Infants, children, and the elderly are extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of secondhand smoke. (CDC, 2006) • 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. (CDC, 2006) • Children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home are 44% more likely to suffer from asthma. (ARC, 2006)
  • 9. Who is Going Smoke-Free? • 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
  • 10. Why Should We Care? • Smoking damages residential property: – Costing landlords more money – Poses fire hazard (leading cause of residential fires deaths in Maine and the US) – Causes cigarette burn damage to carpets, counters, etc. – Leaves smoke residue on walls and curtains
  • 11. The Financial Burden
  • 12. Cigarette Burns—Carpets
  • 13. Cigarette Burns—Furniture
  • 14. Cigarette Residue—Walls
  • 15. 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.
  • 16. The Financial Burden
  • 17. Property Casualty Insurance • Travelers , Vermont Mutual and Concord insurance are carriers known to provide insurance discounts for “comprehensive” fire-safe plans, which include the adoption of written smoke-free policies. • Best to ask insurance provider if you are eligible for a discount as part of a comprehensive fire-safe plan.
  • 18. Tenant survey results in Maine If available, would you prefer to live in a smoke-free environment? Town/County % YES % NO Housing Authorities in 76% 24% Androscoggin Sanford Housing 71% 29% Authority Brunswick Housing 76% 24% Authority Total 74% 26% Total surveys conducted show 78% of tenant populations prefer smoke-free housing, and 80% of Maine single family homes are already, voluntarily, smoke-free.
  • 19. Larger Share of Market WANT This • 78% of tenants surveyed throughout the State prefer to live in a smoke-free environment. • Advertise as smoke-free to encourage to occupancy of people who want to live in a smoke-free environment. • List units on SmokeFreeforMe.org or MaineHousingSearch.org as smoke-free.
  • 20. Why Should We Care? • Complaints from non-smoking tenants about smoke incursions. #1 complaint by Lung Association callers. • Legal action taken against smoking tenants or landlords who allow smoking in their buildings (ADA and FHA protections).
  • 21. But… Isn’t smoking a “right”? – There is no legal right to smoke. – Nothing stops a landlord from prohibiting smoking on property.
  • 22. Remember… Its about the smoke, not the smoker.
  • 23. 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.
  • 24. And, the ADA & FHA say: • Persons cannot be discriminated against in workplaces, public places or in housing due to disability; severe breathing problems constitutes a disability. • Facilities are required to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with severe breathing disabilities, including possibly making the facility totally smoke- free.
  • 25. 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
  • 26. Growing Support for Smoke-Free Housing • Smoke-free housing messaging is part of the growing “Healthy Housing” and “Green Housing” movements. • The smoke-free housing initiative is supported by key federal agencies, including the CDC, EPA and HUD. • On July 17, 2009, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released NOTICE PIH-2009-21 (HA) titled, “Non-smoking Policies in Public Housing.” This official memo states: "This notice strongly encourages Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units.”
  • 27. 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 be resistance, but remember, non-smoking tenants have rights under their leases, too. 3. Inform Tenants. Review the legal information concerning your rights and your tenants' rights. 4. Amend New Leases. Change the language of your lease to include your new smoke-free policy. When new tenants sign on, your policy will be crystal clear. 5. Promote Your Status. Begin advertising your smoke-free status to gain new tenants who appreciate a clean air environment.
  • 28. 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
  • 29. 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.
  • 30. Gov’t. Subsidized Housing In October 2004 HUD’s Seattle office stated “there is no written policy requiring grandfathering of any tenant.”
  • 31. 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.
  • 32. Public Housing Authorities with Smoke-Free Policies • Auburn: 9/04 (grandfather clause abolished 11/08) • Bangor :05/07 (no grandfathering) • Bar Harbor: 07/06 (24 mo. grandfather; entirely tobacco free 07/08) • Brewer 08/07: (12 mo. grandfather) • Brunswick 10/07: (12 mo. grandfather) • Bath: 1/09 (no grandfathering) • Ellsworth: 07/06 (no grandfathering) • • • Fort Fairfield: 07/06 (24 mo. grandfather) Lewiston 11/08 (4 mo. grandfather) Mount Desert Island: 06/06 (no grandfather) 90 • • • Old Town: 07/06 (12 mo. grandfather) Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation: 06/08 (new complex) Sanford: 09/05 (unlimited grandfather) % • South Portland: 01/09 (6 mo. grandfather) • Southwest Harbor: 07/06 (unlimited; tobacco-free at turnover) • Tremont: 03/08 (unlimited grandfather) • Waterville: 07/07 (unlimited grandfather) • Westbrook: 01/09 (no grandfathering)
  • 33. You Have Resources • www.smokefreeforme.org • FREE smoke-free housing registry for landlords & tenants in ME • Landlord brochure, fact sheets, packets, training video- all downloadable from site • Tenant fact sheets in several languages-downloadable from site • Magnets, key chains & window clings for Maine landlords • Call (207) 874-8774 or info@smokefreeforme.org for technical assistance .