In Utah, 91.2% of adults don’t smoke.1 As people have become more aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS), more look for housing where smoking isn’t allowed. Currently, 93% of Utah households don’t allow smoking in the home.1 Unfortunately, people who live in multiple-unit housing have no control over the SHS caused by neighbors. National surveys show that residents of multiple-unit housing like the idea of a smoke free policy. So, there is a high demand for smoke free housing. In fact, the surveys also show that even people who smoke, prefer to smoke outside.
People who live in Utah are used to being protected from SHS. State law keeps people from smoking in workplaces, restaurants, clubs and other places the public has access to. They expect clean air in their apartment or condominium and deserve the right to live in a safe and healthy environment. A non-smoking policy will probably increase interest in your property from renters.
Smoking can cause some pretty serious damage to apartment units. The smoke leaves stains on walls, curtains, cabinets, blinds, appliances and fixtures. Cigarettes can leave burn damage on tiles, carpets, curtains, countertops, and bathtubs. The smell of smoke in carpets, curtains and walls can stay for a long time. On average, it costs property managers/owners two to seven times more money to clean a unit that has been smoked in.2
Since many residents know about the dangers of being exposed to SHS, some may even decide not to rent an apartment if it has been smoked in. Rather than risk exposing their loved ones to SHS, they might look for somewhere else to live.
Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, etc.) are the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States. In 2008, there were nearly 115,000 fires related to smoking-materials in the United States. These fires caused 680 deaths, 1,520 injuries and $737 million in property damage. One out of four victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.3
Smoking should not be allowed in a home where oxygen is used. Smoking is by far the leading cause of burns, reported fires, deaths and injuries involving home medical oxygen.4 Two out of five (39%) fatal home smoking-material fire victims were age 65 and older.3
1. Utah Department of Health. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). 1999-2010. Salt Lake City: Utah Department of Health. Center for Health Data.
2. National Center for Healthy Housing Reasons to Explore Smoke Free Housing, Fall 2009.
3. National Fire Protection Association. The Smoking-Material Fire Problem, John R. Hall, Jr., September 2010.
4. National Fire Protection Association. Fires and Burns Involving Home Medical Oxygen, Marty Ahrens August 2008.