Presentation:   Smoke Free Housing in Apartments and Condominiums is it possible? -- The Massachusetts Experience

Speaker:          Patrick Maloney, RS, CHO, MPAH; Christopher Banthin Esq.


Complaints of 2nd hand smoke in residential environments is challenging for Public Health departments. Environmental Health controls have proven to have limited if any impact.  Attendee’s will hear what works and does not work in addressing these complaints. Attendee’s will then be provided an overview of survey results performed in Massachusetts reflecting a high demand for smoke free policies in residential environments. Lastly an overview of implementing smoke free housing standards will be presented.


Since 2004 when Massachusetts passed the smoke free workplace law, all public places and a vast majority of workplaces have been smoke free. However those living in multiunit dwellings, like apartments and condominiums, are sometimes exposed to secondhand smoke drifting in from a neighboring unit. The US EPA classifies secondhand smoke as a Human (Group A) Carcinogen, with no safe level of exposure. In addition many local Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has noted an increase in the number of complaints in involuntary exposure in the home.


The Environmental Health Division of the Brookline Health Massachusetts Department has responded to numerous housing complaints attempting to address issues associated with complaints of 2nd hand smoke from abutting units. These inspections have had limited success in addressing most complaints.


Survey results conducted by the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University School of Law show a high demand for smoke free policies among residents. PHIA is working with local Health Departments in Massachusetts to encourage voluntary implementation of building with smoke free rules in multiunit dwellings.


In addition, PHIA has surveyed Massachusetts property owners that have already implemented smoke free housing policies. The results reflect positive findings from the policies.



Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, attendees will:

1.       Learn how to assess a housing environment in response to complaints of 2nd hand smoke from abutting units.

2.       Additionally, attendees will learn from survey results in Massachusetts indicating strong demand for smoke free housing policies

3.       Finally, attendees will be provided with templates on Housing Leases and Condominium Rule revisions to implement smoke free housing standards.