Smoke-free housing benefits everyone with clean air and safer homes. Most people spend more time at home than at work or school. Children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to the health and safety risks of indoor smoking.
Smoke-free housing is safer than housing where smoking is allowed.
Smoking in the home is a leading cause of U.S. home fires that kill people. Lit cigarettes or other smoking products may come into contact with flammable furniture, bedding, curtains, clothes, and other items, to start a fire.
The risk increases for buildings with elderly and disabled residents who may be unable to escape in the event of a fire. In fact, close to half of all deaths from smoking-related fires in homes are people over the age of 65.
People who use home oxygen, which is very flammable, are at serious risk. Oxygen can explode – even when it is off – if a fire or spark is near it.
Smoke-free housing is also healthier than housing that allows smoking.
Secondhand smoke* is dangerous to everyone's health.
- Secondhand smoke has 250 toxic gases and tiny particles, including 70 that cause cancer.
- The U.S. Surgeon General has said that there is no safe amount of exposure to it.
Repeated exposure to secondhand smoke causes greater health risks, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Heart attacks
Secondhand smoke is smoke that you inhale from someone else's smoking. Secondhand smoke indoors is dangerous and harmful to others. It moves throughout the building to other rooms and apartments and affects other tenants.
Smoke can travel through:
- air conditioning
- heating systems
- cracks and openings in lighting and plumbing fixtures
- electrical outlets
- under doors
Because toxic gases and particles from secondhand smoke are not removed by ventilation, fans, or by opening windows, the only way to prevent exposure inside is with smoke-free policies.
Smoking outside near windows or doors can also bring smoke into a building. This is why most smoke-free housing policies don't let tenants smoke near doors and windows.
If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, see our quitting-smoking resources.