Facts and Figures about Smokefree Housing

Market Survey of Oregon Renters

A survey of Oregon renters conducted July 2008 found that:

Most Renters would prefer to live in non-smoking environments

  • 70% of Oregon renters say they would choose a smokefree rental. This includes 38% of smokers who agree.
  • 40% would even be willing to pay a little more rent to live in a smokefree community.
  • 21% of those living in multi-unit properties said that secondhand smoke was drifting into their homes on a regular basis.
  • 76% say it is okay for landlords to prohibit smoking inside rental units to keep secondhand smoke from drifting into other units.
  • All groups, even those in the lowest income brackets desire smokefree living.

Most smokers already smoke outside

  • 86% of Oregon renters are living in homes where their own rules or practices prohibit smoking entirely or that it occurs “rarely or never.”
  • People smoke regularly in only 10% of renters’ homes.

*The statewide renter survey, a random-digit-dial phone survey of 300 renters throughout Oregon was conducted by Campbell DeLong Resources, Inc, for the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, Oregon Public Health Division.   Download the full report “Smoking practices, Policies, and Preferences in Oregon Rental Housing 2008.”

Evaluation of Guardian Management’s No-Smoking Policy

Guardian Management LLC led the country in adopting a no-smoking rule last January prohibiting smoking inside apartment units and common areas, such as entryways, parking areas, patios and balconies, as well as within 25′ of any building on the properties.  The rule covers 6500 units in Oregon. Almost a year after the rule was adopted, a resident survey** of Guardian’s low-income properties show:

  • Nearly 75% of residents are happy or very happy with the no-smoking rule.
  • Even among smokers, 30% felt the same way.
  • 43% of smokers reported smoking less tobacco since the policy’s implementation.
  • Nearly half of respondents who smoke reported trying to quit smoking since Guardian enacted the policy. Two thirds of those cited the no-smoking rule as a part of, or the main reason, for the quit attempt.

**The Guardian resident survey is part of an ongoing evaluation of the management company’s experience following implementation of their no-smoking rule.  It is being  conducted by Program Design and Evaluation Services, Oregon Public Health Division in collaboration with Guardian.  The resident survey was conducted in Guardian’s Section 8 and Section 42-subsidized communities and benefited from a 82% response rate, making responses very representative of the low-income population.

Secondhand Smoke Facts

  1. Secondhand smoke contains more than 43 cancer-causing agents and many other toxins, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, cyanide, and arsenic.
  2. In 2006 The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General was published (see full report). After analyzing the multitude of studies that explored the health risks associated with secondhand smoke, he concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. He declared: “The Debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard.”
  3. “Tobacco smoke travels from its point of generation in a building to all other areas of the building. It has been shown to move through light fixtures, through ceiling crawl spaces and into and out of doorways.” John Howard, MD CalOSHA
  4. “Currently, the only way to effectively eliminate health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.” American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (see their report, Environmental Tobacco Smoke)
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