THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Property managers, landlords and health partners participated in a workshop to learn about the benefits and issues surrounding smoke-free housing. The Smoking and Health Action Foundation in partnership with the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network organized the event, held at the Victoria Inn, because exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) in multi-unit housing is a growing concern.
Although Ontarians are now protected in public places and workplaces, many are unwillingly exposed to SHS in their own apartment and condominium units. Approximately one third of Ontarians living in multi-unit housing report regular exposure to SHS that originates in neighbouring units and 80% of Ontarians would choose a smoke-free building if the choice existed.
“Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to live, so we want housing providers to understand the benefits of going smoke-free,” says Jennifer McFarlane, Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network Coordinator.
At the event, participants learned about:
- The extent of the problem of SHS in buildings with shared ventilation
- Smoke-free housing trends in Ontario
- The health, safety and business benefits of implementing smoke-free policies
- Legal rights and issues
- Implementation strategies
Some multi-unit housing providers currently have smoke-free policies that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas including individual units. Some property managers choose to prohibit smoking in outdoor areas as well. Smoke-free policies are legal, enforceable and non-discriminatory. It is important to note that these policies do not prohibit smokers from living in a smoke-free building, force tenants to quit smoking or evict current tenants who smoke
“We have had a great turn-out of interested housing providers. We encourage all landlords and property owners of multi-unit housing to voluntarily adopt no-smoking policies in their rental units or properties and we will continue to support their efforts to do so.”
Anyone looking for more information about smoke-free housing is encouraged to call their local public health unit or go to smokefreehousing.ca