Story Submitted by Florida Department of Health
Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.
Smoke-free multiunit housing, a growing trend throughout the country, is making its way to Florida. Across the state, there are more than 500 smoke-free multiunit housing properties and 73,000 smoke-free units.
22 residential properties in nearby Leon County have already implemented smoking-free policies. “There’s a fear of alienating resident smokers, but most communities that have taken the leap consider smoke-free housing an edge over the competition and have determined that there is a market for this product’ according to Chip Tatum, the former Government Affairs Director for the Florida Apartment Association.
For property managers and landlords, smoke-free policies can have economic benefits. More than 80% of Floridians are non-smokers. Many people who do smoke do not permit smoking in their homes. Given these numbers, many properties have very successfully marketed their smoke-free policy as an amenity, not a restriction. Smokefree policies can save money by eliminating the need to repair or replace carpeting, floors, fixtures, countertops or appliances damaged by burns or nicotine stains. At the end of a lease, smoke-free units require less turnover time due to fewer preparation and repainting needs.
In one Florida survey of 421 managers of smoke-free properties, 99.5 percent of the managers agreed that smoke-free policies do not hurt occupancy and 30.1 percent believed that they increased occupancy.
Tobacco smoke can move along air ducts, through cracks in the walls and floors, through elevator shafts, and along plumbing and electrical lines affecting units that are nearby.1,2 Therefore, there are also numerous benefits for residents as tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 70 known to cause cancer.3 Exposure, even for short periods of time, can be dangerous.4
“A home should be a safe place for everyone, especially for children, people with existing health conditions, and the elderly who are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke,” said Leila C. Rykard, Human Program Services Specialist. “By making sure that residential buildings are 100 percent smoke-free, property managers are protecting tenants from the dangers of toxic smoke and from the risk of deadly smoking-related fires.”
The following are some of the reasons why it’s critical to protect tenants from exposure to secondhand smoke:
- Secondhand smoke exposure is causally linked to heart disease, stroke, several cancers, lower respiratory illness, and impaired lung function.5
- Each year, among U.S. nonsmokers, exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 33,000 premature deaths from heart disease6 and about 3,400 premature deaths from lung cancer.7,8
- Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.9
- Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger.10
- In the first two years of life, children exposed to secondhand smoke have more than a 50 percent increased risk of getting bronchitis and pneumonia.11
- Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).12 SIDS is the sudden, unexplained, unexpected death of an infant in the first year of life. SIDS is the leading cause of death in otherwise healthy infants.13
Secondhand smoke is not the only danger associated with tobacco use at home. Smoking-related fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in residential buildings.14 These fires are eight times more likely to result in death than fires that start from another source. Smoking-related fires in residential buildings result in an average of approximately 365 deaths, 925 injuries, and $326 million in property loss each year.15
For more information, visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/smokefreehousing.