In Your Home

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a smokefree rule that requires Public Housing Agencies (PHA) to implement a smokefree policy for all of their public housing properties in order to protect the health and safety of residents, and to reduce costs and fire risk. PHAs have until August 2018 to implement their policies. Visit our Public Housing page for information and materials to help public housing go smokefree.

small image of smokefree housing infographic click for full size image

Click on image to view full size

It should come as no surprise that exposure to secondhand smoke at home is just as deadly as exposure in the workplace. Studies showing the level of nicotine in house dust and the effects of secondhand smoke exposure on children clarify that entering smoke-filled homes should be avoided by everyone. There are several steps that can be taken to ensure that your home remains smokefree, including letting all caregivers and babysitters know that they are not to smoke in or around your home, and requesting any smokers who live in the house to smoke outdoors, away from entrances and windows.

The CDC's 2015 Vital Signs report that found nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke was reduced by half between 1999-2012, yet 1 in 4 nonsmokers remain exposed. The report found striking disparities among those Americans who are still breathing secondhand smoke. More than 1 in 3 nonsmokers who live in rental housing are exposed to secondhand smoke, and 2 out of every 5 children (including 7 out of 10 African American children) are exposed. Despite the tremendous progress the U.S. has made in eliminating secondhand smoke in workplaces and public places, much progress remains to be achieved in protecting everyone's right to breathe smokefree air in the home.

Unfortunately, many people are faced with breathing secondhand smoke that drifts into their apartment or condominium from other units or common areas. While most communities do not have laws to address this situation, you can still take action. It is important to know that apartment buildings' owners, condominium boards, and owner/managers of other types of multi-unit housing do have the right to adopt a policy to not allow smoking in the building(s).. If you are an owner or manager of housing units, you can mitigate both the health risks and financial costs of indoor smoking by going smokefree. If you are a renter or owner who is suffering from drifting secondhand smoke in your unit, there are steps you can take to work with your neighbors and property owner/manager to adopt a smokefree policy for the building.

If you own or manage rental housing, learn more about your options.

If you live in multi-unit housing, learn more about your options.

Smokefree air is the future of multi-unit housing, and there is a lot of information available for people who are interested in having a smokefree policy for the building that they live in, manage, or own. See our list of local laws and housing authority policies that restrict or prohibit smoking in multi-unit housing.

Smokefree multi-unit housing is now a national trend. Smokefree policies are being adopted by multi-unit housing providers in communities all across the country, in part because residents are speaking up about being exposed to drifting secondhand smoke in their apartment or condominium. Housing providers are also recognizing that a smokefree building can be a good business decision because a smokefree building can reduce maintenance costs, reduce the time and renovation costs associated with turning over a unit that has been smoked in, and reduce the risk of fire, which in turn may reduce insurance rates. Smokefree housing is an amenity that many residents are now actively seeking.

Many communities are working to expand smokefree housing options so that residents in multi-family buildings can have a cleaner, safer, smokefree living environment. If you want to help support increasing the availability of smokefree multi-family housing in your community, here are some useful resources to read as you get started.

Smokefree Housing Resources for
Health Departments & Advocates
Suggested Resources to Develop for Your Smokefree Housing Project (ANR)
From Policy to Implementation: Voter Perceptions of New Smokefree Housing Policies
American Lung Association in California - The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing