No doubt you’ve seen the Arizona Smoke-Free Living logo on the Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA) website or in the latest edition of the Apartment News. But what exactly does the program advocate and what kind of an impact can it have on your community? Here’s why both tenants and Arizona multifamily community managers should push for a smoke-free environment, and how it can be accomplished.
Impact on Public Health
The negative health impact that smoking has on smokers as well as secondhand smokers is very well documented. The most susceptible groups to the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke are young children and the elderly, as they are the ones who are the least able to resolve smoke-related issues and spend a large part of their time inside. Research collected by Mark J. Travers from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute shows that anywhere from 30 to 50% of an apartment’s airflow comes from other apartments, so if residents have neighbors that smoke it is very likely that their health quality is being impacted.
The vast majority of residents understand the negative ramifications of smoking; for example, a 2016 survey of Arizona renters showed that 7 out of 10 renters would prefer living in an entirely smoke-free community as opposed to one that permitted smoking. If smoking is permitted in your community, it very well could be impacting the number of future residents you are attracting.
Potential residents who desire to avoid the health risks of secondhand smoke is only one of the ways that smoking is an economic burden on your community. A study originally published in the American Journal of Public Health (and re-posted here) researched the impact of smoke related costs on multifamily owners and managers in the state of California. These researchers found that on average smoking-related costs resulted in almost $5,000 in additional expenses for each community. They estimated that if a statewide smoke-free policy were to be executed, multifamily property managers and owners would save more than $18 million every year.
In addition to reparation savings, you typically cut down on the cost of insurance for your community by adopting a smoke-free policy. Smoking-related fires are the cause of millions of dollars of damage each year, and the averted cost of such damage also adds to your yearly savings.
Resources for Property Managers
Although a desire to implement change is necessary, property managers additionally need tools to help them make the types of changes mentioned above. Following are a few very helpful resources!
This website, provided by MiddleOak, offers a free report that will detail how much you can actually save by adopting smoke-free policies.
The Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights host a “Smokefree Housing Library” where you can find models for a smoke-free lease addendum, tips for talking with residents about smoke-free policies, as well as enforcement strategies to help residents adhere to the changes.
Arizona Smoke-Free Living offers sample policy handouts, documentation of Arizona’s laws regarding smoking policies and the multihousing industry, etc.
These resources will be a great help to you as you facilitate the transition to smoke-free policies that will drastically benefit residents and your bottom line!