Smoke-Free Housing Initiative

SFHI logo smallerMore property owners and management companies are implementing no-smoking policies for rental housing to meet the demand of non-smokers looking for smoke free housing. Even in apartment units where no one smokes, residents can still be adversely affected by secondhand smoke that drifts through walls and ventilation systems. Children are particularly sensitive to the toxins and chemicals in secondhand smoke, many of which are proven carcinogens.

Smoke-Free Housing Initiative Toolkit – 2014

Why is TFW reaching out to property owners and management companies to provide smoke-free housing?

The U.S. Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes nearly 42,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States with 7,333 attributed deaths from lung cancer and 33,951 attributed deaths from heart disease. (Centers for Disease Control)

How does secondhand smoke enter an apartment?

Secondhand smoke can come into your apartment in multiple ways. Secondhand smoke does not respect boundaries; drifting smoke seeps through ventilation systems, light fixtures, wall electric outlets, plumbing, ceiling crawl spaces, and doorways into all areas of a building with smokers.  Secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by ventilation or air cleaning.

Is it legal to ban smoking?

Absolutely! Smokers are not protected under fair housing laws. And if you ban indoor smoking, you are not required to establish outdoor smoking areas, although some property owners do. Just make sure they are far away from doors and windows, as well as traffic areas where residents and children are passing through. Or consider making your entire grounds smoke-free.

What are the benefits of going smoke-free?

Not only can smoke-free units save you money, but they will also decrease the chance of fires, while providing a healthier environment for everyone in your buildings. Here is a list of possible benefits:

  • Less damage to walls, floors and countertops from smoke residue and burning cigarettes.
  • Quicker turnaround and lower cleanup costs between tenants: Cleaning a smoker’s apartment is tough and expensive work, requiring repainting, cleaning carpets, walls, appliances, etc.
  • A competitive advantage – you’ll be able to attract quality tenants who appreciate a smoke-free environment.
  • Reduced risk of liability: When tenants’ health is affected by other smokers, you’re a potential target for litigation.
  • Fresher-smelling  and healthier air for everyone.

I’m looking for a smoke-free option for housing in Sedgwick County. Can you help me find a place?

There are currently thirty-eight complexes in Wichita with smoke-free policies in at least one of their residential buildings and the number is growing. Click HERE for a map.

I’m interested in learning more about Smoke-Free Housing. What should I do?

The Smoke-Free Housing Initiative works to help support property managers who would like to adopt smoke-free policies. Smoke-Free Housing Initiative members have developed a helpful toolkit of resource materials that can be tailored specifically for each apartment complex.

For more information, please contact Tara Nolen at tnolen@kafponline.org

Finn Lofts

Finn Lofts (430 South Commerce, Wichita, KS 67202) proudly displays a “Smoke-Free Living” sign provided by the Smoke-Free Housing Initiative. Photo courtesy of TFW (2015)

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