Market Research

Smoke-Free Apartments are Good for Health, Good for Business & Good for All

Graph of smoke-free apartment building survey responsesA recent survey of tenants in Northeastern Minnesota found that nearly 78 percent would choose to live in a smoke-free apartment rather than a place that allows smoking. This finding is strong among all leading demographics including income, age and gender. Of respondents in public or income-based housing, 79 percent indicated that they would choose a smoke-free building over a place that allows smoking.

"We conducted this survey to analyze the rental market in Lake, St. Louis, and Carlton counties to better understand the current environment," says Pat McKone, director of mission services for the American Lung Association in MN. She continues, "We were not surprised to see that the desire for smoke-free housing is already driving the market: Just under 30 percent of the respondents indicated their lease already had clear provisions outlining the smoking policy of their rental unit."

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly three in every ten respondents reported suffering from either heart disease or one of the offered lung conditions
  • Over 15 percent of the respondents indicated their household had children under the age of 18
  • Over half said they notice smoke drifting into their apartment unit from adjoining units
  • Although their apartment building may not have a non-smoking policy, almost 72 percent of all respondents said that smoking is not allowed within their individual rental unit at any times
  • Not only do tenants want smoke-free housing, nearly 30 percent would even be willing to pay more rent to live in a smoke-free building
  • An astounding 93 percent of all respondents agreed a landlord should be required to tell a potential renter if an apartment building allows smoking

 chart of survey responses for additional money spent for non-smoking building


Cynthia Finley, program director of the Duluth-based Housing Access Center says, "I am not surprised by the outcome of this data at all. I am fielding calls related to complaints about smoke drifting between apartment units much more frequently than I did even a year ago. It is clear to me that given the choice tenants would prefer to live in a building with a non-smoking policy."