The purpose of this step is to gather data so you can make informed decisions regarding smoke-free policy development. Properly assessing your situation, such as determining the extent of the problem and determining factors that may help or hinder your smoke-free policy implementation, will help you come to a solution.
Build support over time by doing thorough groundwork. A great first step is understanding the benefits and incentives and legal implications of a smoke-free building. You will also need to understand what residents think about their building becoming smoke-free and their readiness to accept policy change. This will help you in developing both a policy and implementation plan that will be supported by and meet the needs of most residents. This may require data collection through a survey or multiple one-on-one conversations. Be sure to read Step 2: Engaging tenants, staff and other relevant stakeholders before planning any data collection that involves reaching out to tenants or other stakeholders.
Property managers or landlords of medium-sized or large buildings may want to strike a committee to assess the issue.
Questions for committees to consider
- How does a smoke-free policy align with our organizational goals and values?
- What is our long-term vision in developing a smoke-free policy?
- Where and how are residents currently being exposed to second-hand smoke?
- How are we currently tracking and managing complaints about smoking? What does that data tell us?
- How much demand is there for smoke-free housing among residents? How much opposition?
- What are the potential costs or cost savings of implementing a smoke-free policy?
During this assessment phase, book a meeting with your insurance company. Find out if they would offer you any discount on your property insurance if you implemented a smoke-free policy. Estimate how much money you would save in the long term both on insurance and on turnover costs by going smoke-free. Consider whether or not you would be interested in translating any of those cost savings into incentives for current tenants to fast track the process of signing new rental agreements. Options could include offering a month of free rent or offering a rent reduction.