Lung Health and Multiunit Housing
September 15, 2020

The Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of Marion County can frequently be found as a vendor at several local events throughout the year. As all residents and businesses have been adjusting to the changes that social distancing has brought, the TFP has been striving to stay in touch with the community. Now more than ever, lung health is a priority. Through the dedication and hard work of community partners, the message of lung health, tobacco cessation, and policy change is staying strong.

This month the spotlight event for the TFP was the North Central Florida Apartment Association’s virtual trade show. Several vendors were provided time to speak with individual property management. The discussions with the property staff ranged from a tenant’s tobacco use within units that have a smoke free policy to property managers looking to quit smoking themselves.

The conversations that arise from local events aren’t always surprising, but they are never lacking in inspiration. It’s encouraging to discuss the barriers of tobacco use faced from different angles, especially on such a personal level.

Several staff expressed genuine excitement to learn that free tobacco cessation options could be made available to their tenants, and were eager to learn more about how other multiunit housing sites had been successful in policy change towards smoke free housing or amenities. One on one time with the management staff offered a glimpse into what the various types of properties value for their tenants. Several newer facilities were pleased to announce that they were able to include a smoke free policy into their lease contract since they had no concern of “grandfathered” in tenants; while others seemed to focus on the barriers associated with policy change, enforcement, or even the appearance of promoting tobacco cessation. The pushback against the decision to transition to a smoke free or environment or support of smoke free lifestyles, even in the time of COVID, is still prevalent.      

It is a common understanding that smoking indoors is bad for lung health, but the concept of smoking in apartments often goes overlooked. The Florida Department of Health reminds tenants and property managers that up to 65% of a neighbor’s smoke, will come through the ventilation possibly distributing the smoke throughout the entire building and into several units. The Surgeon General has clearly stated that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. While lung health has the attention of the entire country, it may be a good time to reduce these risks associated with unintentional secondhand smoke exposure to tenants both young, old and even furry.

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QuitDoc Foundation
Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership
Lauren Fischer · Tobacco Prevention Specialist · 352-598-8241 ·