Secondhand Smoke And Housing

Cigarette smoke can seep into your home, and harm you and your family even if you keep your household tobacco-free.

Secondhand smoke continues to be the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and protecting your family and property from exposure can be more difficult than you think – especially for those living in multi-unit housing like apartments or condos.1

Up to 65% of the air in multi-unit complexes is re-circulated between units.2 Meaning you, your children and even the family pet can be breathing in the smoke leftover from your neighbor’s last cigarette.

If you are being exposed to tobacco smoke from a neighboring unit in your building there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
  • Go smoke-free –with the enactment of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act landlords and homeowners associations are allowed to make any part of their property smoke-free and prohibit smoking in all common areas as well as within private units.
  • Seek other residents’ support – Gathering support from other neighbors concerned about exposure can strengthen your argument when talking to the property owner.
  • Examine your lease – Most leases restrict activities that cause annoyance, irritation, or health problems for other residents. Smoking could fall into one of these restricted categories and speaking to the management could help solve the problem.
While there are currently no laws in the state of Colorado regulating smoking inside a specific unit many properties are voluntarily becoming smoke-free. Smoke-free housing offers endless benefits to both residents and property owners. When talking to your landlord or homeowners association about becoming a smoke-free environment make sure to mention these advantages:
  • A clean air environment protects the health of residents and property staff.
  • Less building damage and maintenance costs to the units and grounds saves money.
  • Limiting smoking will lower the fire risk and damage from forgotten cigarettes.
  • Becoming a smoke-free environment will increase property value and decreases insurance premiums.
Colorado property managers or residents interested in pursuing a smoke-free policy for a residence can find in-depth guides on how to start the process by visiting:

  1. Glantz, S.A & Parmely, W., Passive Smoking and Heart Disease: Epidemiology, Physiology and Biochemistry, (1991) 1-12.
  2. Helburn, Amy, et al, A Case For Smoke-Free Housing, (September 2007) p. 7.