It’s about the Smoke, not
Dispelling Myths about Smoke-Free Housing
Secondhand smoke is not
as harmful as people
• 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%).
Maine has fire-safe
cigarettes, so the fire
danger associated with
smoking no longer exists.
• Smoking-related fires remain the number one
cause of residential fire deaths in Maine and the
• 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
If I install a commercial
ventilation system, I can
smoke from moving
through the building.
• 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
• Regardless of ventilation system, 5-65% of air is
exchanged between units.
I don’t have the legal
ability to tell people
they can’t smoke in
• 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.
Most renters smoke,
so compliance would
• Only 18.2% of the Maine adult population
• 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
I am going to lose a lot
of tenants if I go
• 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.
It isn’t legal for me to
make my entire
• 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%
• There is no “cookie-cutter” policy; landlords are
encouraged to adopt policies that meet the needs of their
properties and their tenants.
A smoke-free policy isn’t
worth all the work that
goes into implementing
• 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
Adopting a policy is
the easy part; it is
enforcement that is a
• 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
• Ensure there is language in your lease that
makes it clear the manner in which non-
compliance will be addressed and follow it!
Smokers will sue me if I
adopt a smoke-free policy.
• 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.
If I have elderly or
disabled tenants, I have to
provide them reasonable
accommodation to smoke.
• 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.
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 email@example.com for TA
• Copies of this presentation available on SlideShare.net
Smoke-Free Housing Webinar Series: Session 3
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Host: Amy Olfene
Language and Provisions: Guide to Drafting a
Smoke-Free Policy in Multi-Unit Housing