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Smokefree Policies in Multi-Unit Housing

Secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health threats to children and adults. For residents of multi-unit housing (e.g., apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major concern. It can migrate from other units and common areas and travel through doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, plumbing, and ventilation systems.

Public and private multi-unit housing properties across the country have moved to solve this problem by making their housing, including individual units, smokefree. This move not only protects residents and staff from exposure to secondhand smoke, but also saves properties money on costs to turnover units and significantly reduces fire risk for buildings.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s rule that will make all public housing smokefree took effect July 30, 2018. This rule protected close to two million public housing residents, including 760,000 children, from exposure to secondhand smoke. The American Lung Association was a strong supporter of HUD's smokefree housing rule and pushed for its passage for over a decade.

The American Lung Association has created a variety of tools and resources to assist multi-unit housing properties, including public housing, with going smokefree:

The American Lung Association also has several projects underway in support of HUD’s smokefree housing rule:

See a comprehensive summary of The American Lung Association’s progress on smokefree multi-unit housing.

Smokefree Policies in Multi-Unit Housing: Steps for Success Online Course

The American Lung Association worked with experts around the United States to develop this online curriculum on how to implement a smokefree policy in multi-unit housing properties like apartments and condominiums.

By taking this course, participants will have the information and tools to:

  • Communicate the health and economic impact of secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing.
  • Engage with building managers, property owners, policymakers, residents and other stakeholders to adopt smokefree multi-unit housing policies.
  • Plan and implement a successful smokefree multi-unit housing policy.
  • Identify resident rights and responsibilities, as well as options for providing services to help smokers quit.

The resources used throughout the course are all collected in the "Smokefree Housing Toolbox." Download the entire toolbox now. The contents are organized by the order in which they are presented.

If you have any questions about registering for the online course, visit Online Learning Course Support to see potential solutions or to request more help. 

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Page last updated: March 10, 2020

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