Public Health Officials Push Smoke Free Policies for Apartments

The Chronicle of Winston-Salem recently ran a story on a push by public health advocates for smoke-free housing in apartments:

Public health officials are making a push to persuade local property owners and managers to implement smoke free policies.

“As landlords and property managers, you have a huge opportunity,” Forsyth County Department of Public Health Director Marlon Hunter told the contingent of housing owners and public health advocates who gathered at the Department last week for a two hour lunch and learn workshop that extolled the benefits of apartment smoking bans. “You have an opportunity to reduce costs and you also have a huge opportunity to reduce a risk to a major preventable cause of disease and that is secondhand smoke.”…

Scott Alderman, president of Landura Management Associates, a property management firm with properties in 10 states, shared his firsthand experiences of going smoke free three years ago. Virtually all of the company’s units now have policies that require residents and guests to be at least 25 feet away from the buildings when smoking, Alderman said.

“We use our smoke free housing as a marketing tool,” Alderman told attendees. “Everyone knows that secondhand smoke is harmful. It also puts your staff and your residents at risk.”

He said his company learned the hard way that apartment-living and smoking can be a dangerous mix. Over the course of a 10-day period, the company incurred over $1.3 million in property damage from two fires – one in Virginia and one in North Carolina, Alderman said. Both fires were caused by people who were smoking.

“We’re protecting assets and we’re protecting residents,” Alderman told the group. “…Fires put innocent people out of their homes.”

Read the rest of the story here.