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Second-hand Smoke in Multi-Unit Dwellings

Take a few minutes to look through the resources we have developed on smoke-free housing (listed below) and come back and visit our site again as we continue to add new materials. We also encourage you to visit the national smoke-free housing website at www.smokefreehousing.ca, where you can find resources specific to B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

Second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings (apartments, condos, housing co-ops, townhouses, etc.) is an emerging public issue. Now that most Canadians are protected in public places and workplaces, demand for other smoke-free environments is on the rise. According to a 2010 public opinion survey,  80% of Ontarians living in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) would likely choose a smoke-free building over one where smoking is permitted, all other things being equal. This is up from 64% in 2006. Unfortunately, such choices are extremely limited as the housing sector has been slow in responding to the increasing public demand for smoke-free accommodation. Indeed, the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association receives more calls on this issue from the general public than any other.

There are various ways that smoke infiltrates other people's private units. Indoor air studies show that, depending on the age and construction of a building, up to 65% of the air in a private residence can come from elsewhere in the building.

Second-hand smoke is more than a nuisance – it's a toxic mix of more than 4,000 chemicals. In 1992 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified SHS as a “Group A” carcinogen, a category reserved for the most dangerous compounds proven to cause cancer in humans. There is no known safe level of exposure. Two major reviews of the scientific evidence emphasize that long-term exposure to SHS substantially increases risk of heart disease and lung cancer in adults. Those with pre-existing health conditions like asthma, emphysema, angina or diabetes are particularly vulnerable to SHS. For children, exposure to SHS is a proven cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as ear infections, asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis.

In light of the strong scientific evidence about the harmful effects of SHS on individuals’ health, the only way to fully protect tenants' health is to eliminate all indoor smoking in MUDs.

 

Change is in the air! Over 100 Ontario social housing providers going smoke-free
List of Ontario Community/Non-Profit Housing Providers With No-Smoking Policies
Smoke-Free Housing Case Study: Bruce County Housing Corporation
Smoke-Free Housing Case Study: Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board
Smoke-Free Housing Case Study: Leeds Grenville Social Housing
Second-Hand Smoke in Multi-Unit Dwellings: Literature Review
When Neighbours Smoke: A Tenant's Guide
Looking Back, Moving Forward: Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Dwellings in Ontario
Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation: A dynamic and innovative community leader
List of Ontario Social Housing Providers with No-Smoking Policies
Using Incentives to Stimulate the Supply of Smoke-Free Housing in Ontario
Smoke-free housing case study: Martek
How to Implement a No-Smoking Policy for a Multi-Unit Dwelling: A Protocol for Condominiums and Housing Co-operatives
How to Implement a No-Smoking Policy for a Multi-Unit Dwelling: A Protocol for Rental Housing
How to Implement a No-Smoking Policy for a Multi-Unit Dwelling: A Protocol for Rental Housing in Ontario
Smoke-free housing case study - Chipman Hill Suites
Smoke-Free Affordable Housing: Picking on Poor People or a Case for Social Justice?
Human Rights and No-Smoking Policies for Multi-Unit Dwellings
Smoke-free housing case study - Artscape Non-Profit Homes Inc.
Smoke-free housing case study - Collier Place Inc.
Smoke-free housing case study - Right At Home Realty
Smoke-free housing case study - Haliburton Community Housing Corporation
Smoke-free housing case study - Northwestern Property Management Limited
Smoke-free housing case study - Schlegel Seniors Villages/ Oakwood Retirement Communities
Smoke-free housing case study - Finlandia Village
Smoke-free housing case study - Vancity Enterprises
Smoke-free housing case study - Greater Edmonton Foundation Housing for Seniors
A Landlord's Guide to No-Smoking Policies in Ontario
Can the Smell of Second-hand Smoke Constitute Damage?
Tenant Survey Regarding No-Smoking Policies in Multi-Unit Housing
Smoke-free Policies Make Good Dollars and Sense: The Business Case for Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing
A Review of Second-hand Smoke Decisions Made by Adjudicators of Landlord and Tenant Boards
Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
Canadian Case Law on Drifting Second-hand Smoke in Multi-unit Dwellings
When Neighbours Smoke
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According to the latest results from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), for data collected between February and December 2010, about 4.7 million people, representing 17% of the population aged 15 years and older, were current smokers, of which 13% reported smoking daily. Approximately 20% of men were current smokers, higher than the proportion of women (14%).
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