Smoke-Free Housing Webinar Series Session 2


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Smoke-Free Housing Webinar Series Session 2

  1. 1. It’s about the Smoke, not the Smoker: Dispelling Myths about Smoke-Free Housing
  2. 2. MYTH Secondhand smoke is not as harmful as people believe.
  3. 3. REALITY • Surgeon General says there is “no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” • SHS is MORE deadly than vehicle exhaust, arsenic, lead, asbestos and a host of other toxins. • Tobacco causes 7 deaths every day in Maine, 1 being a non-smoker exposed to secondhand smoke. • Causes heart disease, lung cancer, SIDs, sinus infections and greatly increases risk of asthma (44%).
  4. 4. MYTH Maine has fire-safe cigarettes, so the fire danger associated with smoking no longer exists.
  5. 5. REALITY • Smoking-related fires remain the number one cause of residential fire deaths in Maine and the US. • While the State Fire Marshal has seen a decrease in the number of furniture-based smoking- related fires, there has been an increase in fires starting in waste receptacles due to improperly discarded cigarettes.
  6. 6. MYTH If I install a commercial ventilation system, I can eliminate secondhand smoke from moving through the building.
  7. 7. REALITY • 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 health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.” • Regardless of ventilation system, 5-65% of air is exchanged between units.
  8. 8. MYTH I don’t have the legal ability to tell people they can’t smoke in their unit.
  9. 9. REALITY • A smoke-free policy does not require anyone to quit smoking… • As a property owner, you have the legal right to adopt policies that increase the safety and habitability of your property. • Smokers are not a protected class; there is no legal “right” to smoke.
  10. 10. MYTH Most renters smoke, so compliance would be impossible.
  11. 11. REALITY • Only 18.2% of the Maine adult population smokes. • In surveys conducted throughout the state, of smokers and nonsmokers living in subsidized and public housing, 78% stated they would prefer to live in a smoke-free environment.
  12. 12. MYTH I am going to lose a lot of tenants if I go smoke-free.
  13. 13. REALITY • You may lose a few tenants who chose not to abide by your policy, but the majority of tenants want to live in a smoke-free environment. • Several subsidized properties in Maine found that after adopting a smoke-free policy, they saw growth in their application pool. • If people like where they live, they will comply with policies in order to ensure tenancy.
  14. 14. MYTH It isn’t legal for me to make my entire property smoke-free.
  15. 15. REALITY • There is no legal or HUD requirement that a landlord provide designated smoking areas. • Landlords have the right to adopt a policy that makes there entire property smoke-free; several housing, healthcare and commercial properties have 100% smoke-free campuses. • There is no “cookie-cutter” policy; landlords are encouraged to adopt policies that meet the needs of their properties and their tenants.
  16. 16. MYTH A smoke-free policy isn’t worth all the work that goes into implementing the policy.
  17. 17. REALITY • A smoke-free policy is fairly easy to adopt and is low-cost to implement. • It is one of the simplest way to make your apartment building cleaner, safer and healthier. • You can save two to seven times on the turnover of a unit. Studies show more than $3,000 can be saved on the turnover of a SRO when smoking is prohibited.
  18. 18. MYTH Adopting a policy is the easy part; it is enforcement that is a major headache.
  19. 19. REALITY • Pre-policy anxiety is worse than the reality. • Your tenants will be your enforcers! • By providing adequate notice to tenants and on- site signage, you dramatically reduce your risk of non-compliance. • Ensure there is language in your lease that makes it clear the manner in which non- compliance will be addressed and follow it!
  20. 20. MYTH Smokers will sue me if I adopt a smoke-free policy.
  21. 21. REALITY • You are far more likely to sued by a non-smoker than a smoker. • Non-smokers may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, should their disability be caused or exacerbated by secondhand smoke they are exposed to in your building.
  22. 22. MYTH If I have elderly or disabled tenants, I have to provide them reasonable accommodation to smoke.
  23. 23. REALITY • Smoking is not acknowledged as a medically necessary activity, nor is it a qualifying disability. • There are no laws that require you to provide special accommodations to smokers. • If you have designated smoking areas, they must be safely accessible to all persons, including those with wheelchairs and other mobile disabilities.
  24. 24. You Have Resources • • 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 for TA • Copies of this presentation available on
  25. 25. Next Webinar Smoke-Free Housing Webinar Series: Session 3 Thursday, April 22, 2010 2:30-3:15pm Host: Amy Olfene Language and Provisions: Guide to Drafting a Smoke-Free Policy in Multi-Unit Housing