STATISTICS CONFIRM HEALTHY TREND: MANY APARTMENTS GOING SMOKEFREE

Advocacy News ,

Almost half of Chicagoland’s property managers mandate no smoking policies inside their residences, and a new survey indicates many more are on the way. 

CHICAGO — August 6, 2015 — A new survey of Chicagoland property managers reveals that almost half of the apartments in the Chicagoland area prohibit smoking inside all of their residences. Of those that still permit smoking on the property, an overwhelming 85 percent report they are interested in developing a smokefree policy, according to the survey conducted by the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago and the Chicagoland Apartment Association.

The survey is part of the Lung Association’s efforts to advance smokefree housing under the Illinois Tobacco-Free Communities Initiative, funded by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). 

"Smokefree environments decrease exposure to first and second hand smoke." said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita. "They promote better overall health by reducing lung and heart disease including cancer. I commend the property managers on this smoke-free initiative and their dedication to making Chicago homes safer and healthier."

Specifically, the poll says 44 percent of property managers prohibit smoking in all of their units, while another 14 percent designate some of their units as smokefree. The study also reveals that 74 percent of buildings restrict smoking in all or some of their exterior common areas.

“These are the trends we are always thrilled to see, but the survey also shows that we have a lot of work to do,” said Kristen Young, executive director of the Lung Association of Greater Chicago. “Secondhand smoke can easily migrate from unit to unit through doorways or common ventilation systems. This is dangerous because secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. So given that courts have held that residents do not have a constitutional right to smoke in rented properties, we believe the negative health effects caused by secondhand smoke justifies prohibiting this harmful behavior in apartment residencies.”

“Property managers within our membership recognize that an overwhelming number of residents favor smokefree policies,” said Michael Mini, the executive director of the Chicagoland Apartment Association. “In addition to the obvious health benefits, prohibiting smoking decreases the risk of fire and lowers maintenance costs. Managers respond to resident demands, and while a smokefree policy isn’t right for everyone, we see the trend moving towards become the new normal for Chicago’s rental apartments.”

For more information on smokefree housing, please visit www.caapts.org or www.LungIL.org.