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News Release

Surveys confirm market demand for 100% smoke-free housing

Dec 28, 2011
Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in apartments, condos and co-op housing is a serious public health threat for residents in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka, and the vast majority want smoke-free housing.

 

SIMCOE MUSKOKA - Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in apartments, condos and co-op housing is a serious public health threat for residents in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka, and the vast majority want smoke-free housing.

 

Results of two surveys by Ipsos Reid show a majority of all residents believe that all multi-unit dwellings should be smoke-free and, if available, would be the choice of a majority of tenants.

 

The most recent survey conducted in November for the Canadian Cancer Society found 67 per cent of all Ontario residents support 100 per cent, smoke-free multi-unit housing.

 

Those results build on a November 2010 survey conducted for Smoke-Free Housing Ontario. In that survey, 80 per cent of tenants who were currently living in multi-unit dwellings said they would choose to live in a smoke-free building, all other things being equal. Despite that, the supply of smoke-free housing remains disproportionally low.

 

“There is no safe level of exposure to the secondhand smoke that can drift between units with shared walls in residential housing,” says John Niddery, supervisor of the health unit’s Tobacco Program. “Smoke-free housing should be an option available to everyone who wants to protect themselves and their families.”

 

The surveys confirm that there is a market for smoke-free housing. That’s good news for landlords and housing providers since smoke-free dwellings are less costly to maintain, clean, paint and refurbish than units where regular smoking occurs. As well, smoke-free units reduce the risk of fire and this can reduce insurance costs.

 

“Building owners may not be aware that they have the legal right to implement a No Smoking policy for their buildings,” said Niddery. “They can require all new tenants to sign an agreement to keep their unit smoke free as a condition of a lease.”

 

He pointed to Collier Place, a seniors’ building in Barrie, as an example of a high-rise that is becoming smoke free. Current residents can continue to smoke, but as the units turn over all new leases include a smoke-free clause. Over time the building will become 100 per cent smoke free.

 

The Simcoe County Housing Corporation is also going to pilot a smoke-free building for its social housing residents beginning in January, after a survey of social housing residents indicated there is support for the move.

 

The health unit has information and supports for tenants, landlords and housing providers to help them make their units smoke free. Call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit www.smokefreehousing.ca.

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ABOUT THE IPSOS REID POLLS

An Ipsos Reid poll, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division, was undertaken from November 16 to 21, 2011.  For this survey, a total of 810 Ontarians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel were interviewed online, yielding a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

 

 

An earlier Ipsos Reid poll, conducted for Smoke-Free Housing Ontario, was undertaken from October 29 to November 9, 2010.  For this survey, a total of 1533 Ontarians living in apartments, condominiums and housing cooperatives were interviewed online, yielding a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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