smoke-free communities

Utah's Smoke-Free Apartment and Condominium Guide and Statewide Directory

Secondhand smoke (SHS) is the third leading cause of preventable disease in the U.S. and a leading cause of acute and chronic disease. Approximately 50,000 individuals die each year as result of SHS exposure. Secondhand smoke caused by nearby neighbors can have a bad impact on the residents who live in apartments and condominiums.

Secondhand smoke from one unit can seep through air ducts and cracks, or travel through a shared ventilation system and enter into another person's living space. "At present the only means of effectively eliminating the health risks associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity. 1 According to the 2006 Surgeon General's Report, "there is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS." "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults."2

Although residents have adopted voluntary smoke-free home rules, they may still be exposed to SHS. In fact, as much as 60 percent of airflow in multiple unit housing can come from other units. 3,4 Nearly 50 percent of residents living in multiple unit housing report that they have experienced drifting SHS in their units. 4-6 Therefore, smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing can protect everyone from being exposed to SHS.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for asthma and worsening of asthma symptoms, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. 7 Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children. These effects can last a lifetime.8

In Utah, 22,100 or 2.8 % of children (ages 0-17) live in households where someone smokes inside the home. Of the children who live in rented homes, 5.1% (6,900 children) are exposed to secondhand smoke. Since 2001, the overall number of children exposed to secondhand smoke has decreased by 53%. The percentage of children exposed to secondhand smoke in rented homes decreased from 12.6% in2001 to 5.1% in 2005.9

Sections of the Guide

The Guide is divided into three sections:

Landlord section- The landlord section includes useful tools to help building owners and managers with the creation of a smoke-free policy and with the transition to a smoke-free policy for their property. Go to section now.

Resident section- The resident section includes useful tools that will assist individuals in protecting themselves from secondhand smoke exposure and also identifying communities that have adopted a smoke-free policy. Go to section now.

Utah Smoke-free Multi-Unit Housing Directory- The directory lists rental properties that have adopted a no-smoking policy. Link to current directory section.

Register Your Smoke-Free Property in the Directory


Today's renters and prospective condominium buyers are much more savvy about the problems associated with secondhand smoke exposure. Many will not accept a property that does not have a smoke-free policy in place.

If you have a smoke-free property you would like listed in the directory register here now.



1. ASHRAE Report (Environmental Tobacco Smoke, Positional Document, Approved by ASHRAE Board of Directors, June 25, 2008.
2. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2006) The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.
3. Diamond RC, Feustel HE, Dickerhoff DJ. Ventilation and infiltration in high-rise apartment buildings. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Report, LBL -38103, Berkeley, California, 1996.
4. King BA, Travers MJ, Cummings KM, Mahoney MC, Hyland AJ. Secondhand smoke transfer in multiunit housing. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2010;12:1133-41.
5. Hewett MJ, Sandell SD, Anderson J, Niebuhr M. Secondhand smoke in apartment buildings: Renter and owner or manager perspectives. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2006; 9(1):S39-S47.
6. Hennrikus D, Pentel PR, Sandell, SD. Preference and Practices among renters regarding smoking restrictions in apartment buildings. Tobacco Control 2003; 12: 189-94.
7. Jonathan M. Samet, Risk Assessment and Child Health, 113 Pediatrics 952, (2004).
8. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2006) The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.
9. 2005 Utah Department of Health. Utah Health Status Survey, 2001-2005. Salt Lake City: Utah Department of Health. Center for Health Data

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