Smoke-Free Housing

Smoke-Free Housing ... Change is in the air.

Multi-housing owners, managers, and residents can all benefit from a smoke-free policy. Smoke-free buildings are cost-effective, safe, and healthy.

Myrtle Woodford, a resident at Wells Apartments, a SEPP, Inc. owned building that went smoke free in 2008 stated,
“I am a non-smoker and I don’t want to breathe second hand smoke. Before our building went smoke free, all the halls and elevators smelled of smoke. It has given me more control over my own health to not breathe second hand smoke.”

A resident who smokes in a multiunit residential building puts the residents of the other units at risk. (1)

The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

  • Secondhand smoke knows no boundaries. It travels through lighting fixtures, cracks in the walls, around plumbing, under doors and shared heating/ventilation. (2)
  • Secondhand smoke is a class ‘A’ carcinogen, like radon and asbestos. (3)
  • Some illnesses caused or made worse by secondhand smoke include: lung cancer, asthma, sinus infections, ear infections, chronic cough, sudden infant death syndrome and heart disease. (4)
  • Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. (5)

Reasons to Consider Smoke-Free Housing Policies

Increased Market Value

  • Most tenants want smoke-free apartments and are willing to pay higher rents for smoke-free apartments. (4)

Reduced Costs

  • Cigarette smoke damages the apartment and increases cleaning costs. (2)

Fewer Fire Risks

  • Cigarette-caused fires are the #1 reason for fire death in the US. (2)
    • “Smoking indoors puts people in needless danger. Cigarettes are the cause of many accidental fires, so not smoking indoors means fewer fires and more saved lives. There’s no question about it- smoke-free housing is a good way to keep tenants safe.” - Dan Eggleston, Fire Marshall, City of Binghamton
  • Discounts on fire, life and property insurance are offered by some companies for smoke free buildings. (2)

Smoke-Free Policies are LEGAL

  • The US constitution does not guarantee a right to smoke; prohibiting smoke in multi-unit dwellings is legal. (6)

Smoke-Free Policies Can Protect Landlords from a Lawsuit

  • Some courts have found that secondhand smoke seepage can constitute a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment (the covenant of quiet enjoyment protects a tenant from serious intrusions that impair the character or value of the leased premise. (7)
  • Nuisance law can also be applied to the issue of secondhand smoke infiltration. (7)

Social Justice

  • Tobacco smoke exposure in public housing is particularly troubling because it afflicts disadvantaged and vulnerable populations. (8)
  • Because other legal remedies are so limited and market remedies are unavailable to very low-income tenants, the onus arguably is on the public-housing regulators to ensure adequate protection from tobacco smoke for these residents. (8)

Local Smoke-free Apartments in Broome County:

Serving the Elderly through Project Planning (SEPP) Apartments
Apartments owned and/or managed by Steve Lysczek

Local Smoke-free Apartments in Tioga County:

The Estates
Apartments owned and/or managed by Maureen Mathewson

Find smoke-free rentals in Broome and Tioga Counties!
To search for smoke-free apartments or to find more information on smoke-free housing in New York State go to

1- Live Smoke Free. The benefits of a smoke-free policy. Retrieved from

2- Smoke-Free Housing NY. (2009). Steps to smoke-free housing ny: Landlord and Property Owners’ Guide.
Retrieved from

3- Clean Air Kansas. Secondhand smoke facts. Retrieved from (outdated link)

4- Friedman & Ranzenhofer Attorneys at Law. (2011). Tenants don't have the right to smoke in buffalo new york. Retrieved from: (outdated link)

5- CDC. New Surgeon General’s Report Focuses on the Effects of Secondhand Smoke. Washington D.C.: HHS Press Office, 2006. Web. 2 May 2011. (outdated link)

6- Smoke-Free Housing NY. (2009). Steps to smoke-free housing ny: Landlord and Property Owners’ Guide Q & A. Retrieved from: (outdated link)

7- Susan Schoenmarklin, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, Secondhand Smoke Seepage into Multi-Unit 0Affordable Housing (2010).

8- Winickoff, J.P., Gottlieb, M., Mello, M.M. (2010). Regulation of smoking in public housing. The New England Journal of Medicine, 362, (24).