Smoke-free Housing

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Smoke-free Housing

Managers and residents of multifamily buildings across the country are discovering the benefits of smoke-free housing.

A 100% smoke-free building is one where smoking tobacco products are prohibited everywhere. That means no smoking in individual apartments or common indoor and outdoor areas. Some smoke-free buildings may allow smoking only in a limited outdoor area.


Everyone benefits from smoke-free housing:

  • For owners, there is less property damage and fewer turnover costs. Also, the lower risk of a fire can lead to savings on insurance.
  • For residents, the air is cleaner and healthier in their homes, as well as in common areas, such as hallways, lobbies and stairwells.

Smoke-free Housing in NYC

The first residential buildings in New York to adopt 100% no-smoking rules have opened their doors. Many residences are now considering this policy. A 2014 poll of city voters found that nearly 70% want to live in smoke-free housing. You can find a list of smoke-free buildings in the city through SmokeFreeHousingNY.

Smoke-free Housing in Other Cities

Smoke-free housing is popular in several major cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, where tens of thousands of apartment units are now smoke-free.

Steps for Building Owners to Make a Building Smoke-free

  1. Decide the policy. Do you want the entire building and all common areas to be smoke-free, or just apartments and indoor areas? You can involve residents in the process, possibly through a survey.
  2. Educate residents. Distribute a letter or notice to make sure everyone follows the new rules. This notice should include:
    • Policy details
    • Benefits of the rule
    • Effective date
    • Resources for quitting smoking
  3. Add the rule to leases. In addition to adding the rule to new leases, you can also amend current leases during renewal, or if a resident voluntarily agrees to a lease change.
  4. Enforce the rule. You should post signs, remove ashtrays and smoking litter, and start discussing the rule to prospective tenants.

Rent-regulated apartments may have special rules. You should talk to an attorney before making rule changes for those units.

For questions about smoke-free housing, contact

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