Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I make my building smoke-free?
As a housing provider for low-income households, persons with disabilities or seniors, you are catering to a unique market: one for which a smoke-free policy may be even more important.
These are tenants with extremely limited housing choices. Low-income households are marginalized with higher rates of disability and chronic disease. Seniors and others living in assisted-living facilities often have pre-existing health conditions that can be exacerbated by second-hand smoke exposure, and they are more likely to have mobility issues increasing their risk of harm in the case of a fire. Some people wait years to secure a subsidized unit, only to find themselves and their families involuntarily exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis. They do not have the means to move. For seniors or persons with disabilities, choices are also limited and often dependent on timing, availability, specialized services and proximity to family or other caregivers. Moving can be incredibly disruptive for those with memory loss or other mental-health conditions.
Everyone deserves housing that is healthy and safe.
Is there a demand for smoke-free housing in Alberta?
Yes. Seven out of 10 Albertans who currently live in multi-unit housing would choose to live in a smoke-free building. That is a significant majority of your potential market.
Alberta’s young-adult residents report the strongest desire for smoke-free housing. 18 to 34-year-olds desire smoke-free housing because they have grown up in a society where exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is not a social norm. Many don’t remember a time when being exposed to smoke in restaurants and bars was common. Fewer and fewer of them are choosing to start smoking to begin with. As tobacco legislation continues to shape our social reality, and, as the dangers of smoking become better known, demand for smoke-free housing is only going to continue to increase. However, while demand is high, the availability of smoke-free multi-unit housing in Alberta is limited.
It is also important to understand that there are many Albertan tenants who smoke, but they don’t necessarily smoke in their homes. Many make a deliberate decision to keep their property smoke-free in order to protect either their property or their loved ones. You may be surprised how many would choose to live in a smoke-free home when presented with the option.
A smoke-free policy is not a no-smoker policy and should never be portrayed as such.
Is smoke mitigation enough?
No; air filters, purifiers and ventilation systems cannot eliminate second-hand smoke. They may remove some of the smoke and larger particles from the air, but they will not remove the smaller particles or gases found in second-hand smoke. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the world’s leading association of heating and air conditioning engineers whose indoor air-quality standards are followed internationally, indicates that there is no acceptable ventilation system that can protect individuals exposed to second-hand smoke.
In 2005, James Repace, an internationally recognized second-hand smoke physicist, conducted a review for ASHRAE on controlling tobacco smoke. He concluded that “ventilation technology cannot possibly achieve acceptable indoor air quality in the presence of smoking, leaving smoking bans as the only alternative.”
How can I advertise my smoke-free building?
Spread the word about your smoke-free policy anywhere you currently list information about your properties.
- your application form
- your website
- your portfolio in third-party directories
- other marketing and advertising materials
Where can I find more information about smoke-free housing?
This website is full of information about smoke-free policies, including the benefits of a smoke-free environment and how to go about creating a policy for your building. There are also many tools and resources to help you throughout the process.