Second-hand smoke is more than a nuisance; it

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                             FACT SHEET
PROPERTY MANAGERS                                    ON DRIFTING S ECO N D-HAND SMO K E

      econd-hand smoke is more than a nuisance; it                  Benefits Of Smoke-Free Buildings
        is a “Class A” carcinogen that poses a serious health       q   Reduced cleaning and maintenance costs. Tobacco smoke
        risk to adults and children. Drifting second-hand               leaves a dirty yellow coating on walls and exposed
smoke in multi-unit dwellings where no smoke-free                       surfaces and permeates the premises, even after
policies exist is an emerging health issue and presents a               cleaning the drapes and carpets and painting the walls.
considerable challenge for apartment owners.                        q   Tapping into a sizable market of British Columbians who
  While the vast majority of hotels in Canada and the                   want to live in smoke-free environments, as well as the
United States provide smoke-free accommodations, often                  thousands of people who suffer from respiratory and
designating whole floors or sections as smoke-free, there               heart diseases that are exacerbated by exposure to
are very few smoke-free rental units available for British              second-hand smoke.
Columbians who want — and need — to live free from                  q   Less risk of fires. In BC, smoking materials are three
breathing second-hand smoke.                                            times as likely to be the cause of fires in apartment
  The following information provides suggestions on steps               buildings, compared to one and two-family dwellings.
that can be taken to minimize or eliminate the problem of               (Fire Losses in British Columbia in 2000, Office of the
drifting second-hand smoke.                                             Fire Commissioner).

 Did you know?                              q Ventilation systems may dilute               q A survey conducted in
                                             the smell of tobacco smoke, but                Minnesota in 2001 found
 q It is legal for landlords to              they do not eliminate the                      that almost half of rental
   include a “no-smoking”                    carcinogens that are invisible                 households had experienced
   clause in tenancy                         and odourless.                                 drifting smoke, and over
   agreements. This can apply                                                               one-third said it bothered
   to units or the entire                   q Over 260,000 British                          them a lot or so much that
   building.                                 Columbians suffer from asthma                  they moved or would move
                                             and an estimated 168,000                       because of it. Only 20% of
 q 84% of British Columbians                 British Columbians are living                  those affected by the smoke
  don’t smoke. (Canadian Tobacco             with chronic heart disease and                 told their landlord about the
   Use Monitoring Service)                   stroke. (Statistics Canada; Heart and          problem. (
                                               Stroke Foundation)
Possible Steps to Minimize the Problem                              Young v Saanich Police
q   In smoke-free rental buildings, enforce the policy by
    giving written notice to comply with the policy, or be
                                                                    Department, et al 2003 BCSC 926
    prepared to end the tenancy in cases of non-                    (Victoria Supreme Court)
                                                                    An Arbitrator in BC found that the landlord in this
q   In rental buildings without smoke-free policies, work           case had sufficient cause to terminate the tenancy
    with tenants to resolve all reasonable complaints about
    drifting second-hand smoke. Landlords have a                                                      because the odour
    responsibility to protect tenants from substantial              of medically approved marijuana that was
    interference with their “quiet enjoyment” of the                emanating from his suite disturbed the other
    premises. There may be a basis for breach of “quiet             tenants, deprived them of the enjoyment of their
    enjoyment” if there is evidence that the landlord was           suites and was likely to cause the landlord to
    aware of the problem and failed to take reasonable              continue to lose tenants. To force the landlord and
    steps to correct it.                                            its tenants to tolerate Mr. Young’s marijuana smoke
q   Ensure that municipal bylaws that prohibit smoking in           constituted undue hardship. The Arbitrator’s decision
    public areas of buildings are enforced. Consider posting        was upheld in Victoria Supreme Court in 2003.
    “no smoking” signs in common areas such as hallways,
    stairways, elevators and laundry rooms.
                                                                    process of implementing a smoke-free policy, but it
q   Minimize drifting smoke by making reasonable repairs            must be phased-in over time.
    or modifications to the premises, such as sealing cracks
    and weather-stripping doors.
                                                                q   Notify your tenants in writing that you are moving
                                                                    toward a smoke-free or partially smoke-free building.
q   If all reasonable efforts fail to resolve the problem,          While existing tenants who smoke may be excluded
    consider evicting the tenant(s) who smoke, if it can be         from the policy, explain that you will be gradually
    shown that their behaviours are persistently and                converting to smoke-free units as tenants leave the
    significantly interfering with, or seriously jeopardizing       building.
    the health of other tenants.
                                                                q   Include a clause in all new tenancy agreements
                                                                    prohibiting smoking by tenants and their guests in the
Possible Steps to Eliminate the Problem                             rental unit and elsewhere on the property including
In BC, apartment owners can choose to adopt a total or              balconies. It should be clearly stated that tenants are
partial smoke-free policy that prohibits smoking in sections        responsible for informing their guests of the smoke-free
of the building, or the entire premises, including indoor           policy and prohibiting smoking on the premises.
units and outdoor balconies and patios. With new buildings
this is not a problem because tenants have no pre-existing      For More Information
agreements or leases. With existing buildings, smoke-free       Clean Air Coalition of BC
policies may need to be phased-in over time.          

Considerations For Converting To Partial or Total     
Smoke-Free Buildings                                            BC Residential Tenancy Policy Guideline 6.
q If you choose to move toward a smoke-free rental
                                                                Right to Quiet Enjoyment
  building, begin by converting vacant units into smoke-
  free units, with the intention of converting the entire
  building or a section of the building to be smoke-free.       Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, Canada
  Landlords can tell prospective tenants who want to  
  reside in smoke-free environments that they are in the
                                                                                                      Updated November 2005