Make Your Home Secondhand Smokefree

July 2, 2021

Secondhand Smoke- It’s no Joke
There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure for you and your family. Secondhand smoke is produced from a number of sources, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, electronic smoking devices (also known as e-cigarettes or vapes) and marijuana smoking/vaping devices. Smoke can drift into your home through windows, vents, electrical outlets and other places, even if you do not allow smoking in your home.

Since you rent your home; you can work with your property manager or property owner to create a smokefree policy for your property. Your local tobacco control program can also help you educate your property manager and local legislators on the benefits of adopting a smokefree housing policy for your community.

Here are some steps you can take to begin working towards a truly smokefree home for you and your family:

  1. Discuss the issue with your neighbors who smoke. The first step is to discuss the issue of secondhand smoke with your neighbors. Let your neighbor know how the smoking affects you and your family and ask if they would be willing to smoke at a distance or location away from your home and that of other neighbors.
  2. Speak with your property manager/property owner. Present your concerns to the property manager/property owner and see if they would consider adopting a smokefree policy for your complex.
  3. Keep a journal of the secondhand smoke intrusions. Writing it down will help you track the incidents and objectively discuss the problem. Should anyone challenge your complaint, you will have it all in writing and can refer to each incident, what you did/said, and what the response was.
  4. Minimize the smoke entering your home. Try to “sniff out” where any smoke is getting in and ask the property manager or owner to repair any large leaks/cracks that can be sealed. This is a temporary fix to make the indoor situation more tolerable.
  5. Reach out to your local tobacco control program. Your county’s local tobacco control program can help support your efforts by providing educational materials, technical support, and assistance in navigating your particular situation.
  6. Reach out to your local councilmember or board of supervisors’ representative. Identify your local representative and schedule a time to meet with them to discuss your situation. Provide details on your scenario and educational materials on the benefits of a smokefree housing policy for the community.

Home Owner
You can also follow steps detailed above with the exception of number three. In which case you can replace by researching your city’s ordinance laws. Do they mention not bothering neighbors with noise or other nuisance behaviors (smoking can be classified as a “nuisance” behavior in certain situations)?

Home Owner’s Associations and rent-controlled properties
Many homes, condominiums, or even rental properties can be a part of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA). A HOA’s purpose is to provide a common basis for preserving, maintaining and enhancing homes and property! You can work with your HOA to adopt and implement a smokefree policy for their community! Some apartments and properties might be subject to rent-control. If your home or property is rent-controlled, you can still work with your local tobacco control program to work towards a smokefree policy for your community.

Are you a property owner, manager or landlord? Check out resources for you here.