When people smoke in multi-unit housing, the smoke doesn't stay inside their apartment. Smoke drifts throughout apartment buildings, condos, and townhouses through ventilation, cracks for plumbing and electrical wiring, windows, doors, and other small cracks. Because smoke drifts, non-smokers who live in buildings with smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes.
The only way to prevent secondhand smoke in apartment buildings is to have non-smoking housing. Air filters do not remove secondhand smoke, and neither does attempting to caulk or close cracks in walls. Smoke-free multi-unit housing does not mean that smokers cannot live in an apartment building, it only means that they need to smoke outdoors.
Smoke-free housing not only protects tenants' health, but it results in savings for property owners. Smoking indoors leaves behind third-hand smoke, which is the mixture of chemicals and nicotine that sticks to surfaces (walls, carpets, etc.). It is a toxic, yellow, sticky substance that is difficult to remove. When smokers move out of an apartment, property owners often have to spend more time and resources to clean the apartment and make it suitable for the next tenant. See this postcard for more information on the average costs to turn over smoking apartments.
Smoking indoors is also a fire hazard. See this flyer we developed with the Urbana Fire Department for more information about the fire risks of smoking in multi-unit housing. We also created a Public Service Announcement video with the Urbana Fire Department.
Going smoke-free in apartment buildings is simple. Property owners just need to add a smoke-free clause to their lease. The no smoking lease language can be as simple as the following:
Smoke-Free multiunit housing property owner frequently ssked questions.
"Smoking is not allowed in any apartments or common areas of the building. Lessor will enforce the no-smoking policy throughout the building."
We also ran a thank you ad in the Daily Illini for local smoke-free property owners.
Reasons to Explore Smoke-Free Housing (National Center for Healthy Housing)
Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing: Bringing Healthy Air Home (American Lung Association PDF)
Creating Smokefree Housing: A model ordinance with summary and checklist (ChangeLab Solutions)
We Choose Smoke-free Living (Illinois Department of Public Health
Smoke-free Living (IDPH We Choose Health Action Institute)
Model Smoke-free Lease Addendum