How to make your home smoke free

Learn about secondhand smoke prevention.

Tips and resources

Secondhand smoke is a health hazard. Secondhand smoke comes from a burning cigarette and contains over 7,000 chemicals and poisons, and at least 50 of these are known to cause cancer. When you breathe secondhand smoke, you inhale the same chemicals as smokers do.

The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report on secondhand smoke concludes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke exposes your family and friends to many risks. In adults, it causes problems with asthma, poor blood circulation, heart disease, and lung cancer. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke causes more common coughs, colds, problems with asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis in children. It is also especially harmful to pregnant women and to fetal development.

Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the best way to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.

Because of these dangers, more and more residents are asking for smoke-free housing in apartment buildings, condominiums, and other housing to protect their own health and the health of their families. Because of this, landlords and management companies are taking the initiative to enact smoke-free policies in their buildings.

On February 3, 2017 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a nationwide final rule that all HUD-funded Public Housing Authorities must implement a smoke-free policy by July 31, 2018.

It is important to remember that a smoke-free housing policy only prohibits smoking in the building or on the property. It does not prohibit smokers from living in the building.

MTCP and the Health Resources in Action Smoke-free Families Initiative work in coordination with the Massachusetts Smoke-free Housing Project, an initiative of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, to provide support to tenants, landlords, and condominium owners and associations to understand the benefits and challenges of making homes 100% smoke-free.

If you have questions or would like technical advice or referrals, please see the additional resources or call our Smoke-free Housing Project toll-free hotline: (877) 830-8795.

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