Smoke-free building policies can limit your liability as a property owner or manager. Residents with health issues that are caused by or exacerbated by secondhand smoke may pursue legal action against their property owners or managers if appropriate steps are not taken to resolve the problem. (9)
Property owners and managers can legally adopt smoke-free policies! Resources, such as sample lease addendums to specify a no-smoking policy are available by calling us.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. (1) Eliminating indoor sources of secondhand smoke is the only way to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
Even if tenants don't smoke, secondhand smoke can still enter into their units through vents, doors, windows, and shared hallways.
Among the 616,000 multi-unit housing residents in South Carolina, it is estimated that 206,000- 216,000 of them are involuntarily exposed to secondhand smoke in their unit. (2)
A recent survey of Charleston, South Carolina apartment residents found that the majority (66%) did not allow smoking inside their unit. However, about one-third of these individuals reported experiencing secondhand smoke exposure infiltrating into their unit from elsewhere in or around the building. (3)
Of those experiencing secondhand smoke exposures, over 40% reported these exposures occurred daily or a few times a week. (3)
A recent study found that costs in properties that allow smoking everywhere were nearly double that of smoking- related costs incurred at smoke-free properties. (4)
Compared to smoke-free units, cleaning and refurbishing costs can be up to $3,000 more in units with heavy smoking. (5)
Nationally, smoking related fires result in over $300 million in property loss each year. (6)
Allowing smoking in your building can increase the risk of fire. An estimated 7,600 smoking-related fires occur in residential buildings each year in the US. (6)
Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of fire deaths, accounting for 14% of fire deaths in residential buildings. (6) Smokers are not the only victims of such fires. Casualties of smoking-related fires often include the children, friends, and neighbors of the smoker who caused the fire. (7)
Charleston residents want smoke-free housing policies.
Approximately 80% of Charleston, SC apartment residents currently residing in smoking-allowable buildings indicated that they would not move out of their current residence if it were designated as smoke-free. (3)
In fact, many of these residents indicated that they would be willing to give up other amenities in order to live in a smoke-free building, such as a shorter commute time to work and other local services. (3)
A recent survey of Berkeley County residents indicates many favor smoke-free multi-unit housing. You can view the survey here.
65% of Charleston, SC apartment residents would prefer to have a policy in their building that prohibited smoking in all indoor areas. However, only 9% of apartment residents in this survey reported living in a smoke-free building. (3) A recent national survey found that nearly 30% of multiunit housing residents live in smoke-free buildings, far higher than the estimates in Charleston. (8)
High support for such policies along with the low prevalence of current smoke-free policies could result in a large market opportunity for multi-unit housing operators who implement smoke-free policies in your area.