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Reasons to Go Smoke-Free


Justin Cruz of Cruz Management and Eugene Barros of the Boston Public Health Commission discuss the economic, safety and health benefits of smoke-free housing on BNN News. 

It's a smart decision.

Cost savings
A smoke-free property protec​​ts your building from smoking-related damage and makes it easier and less expensive to manage and maintain.
  • Turnover costs for units that have been smoked in can be several thousand dollars more than non-smoking units
  • Compared to non-smoking units, units that were smoked in can cost 2-7 times more to repair and maintain  

Some insurance companies offer discounts on insurance for smoke-free buildings. Ask your insurance carrier for more information.

Attracting & keeping tenants 
Studies show there is high demand for smoke-free housing in Massachusetts.
  • Smoke-free housing can increase tenant satisfaction and reduce tenant turnover
  • One survey of Massachusetts tenants found that 92.4% thought a smoke-free policy was a good decision once the policy was in effect 

Lower risk of legal liability

  • Massachusetts law recognizes tenants' rights to safe and livable housing -- courts have ruled that this includes tenants' right to be protected from secondhand smoke in their housing
  • Making a residential property smoke-free reduces requests for reasonable accommodation due to secondhand smoke exposure
  • It also lowers the risk of lawsuits from tenants and staff who have had problems because of secondhand smoke 

Market trends

  • The housing market in Boston and across the country has increasingly been shifting to smoke-free, from small landlords to large multi-state management companies
  • One survey of Massachusetts landlords found that 99% of property owners who made their properties smoke-free thought they made a good decision

It's benefits everyone.

Most people spend more time at home than anywhere else — up to 15 hours a day on average.  Children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses, who are more vulnerable to the health and safety risks of indoor smoking and tend to spend the most time at home, are at greatest risk.  

Fire safety

  • Smoking in the h​ome is a leading cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths in the U.S. 
  • The risks are higher in buildings with large numbers of elderly or disabled residents who have mobility issues that may not allow them to escape from a fire. 

Fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking products also cause more property damage - averaging $25,820-$27,600.

Secondhand smoke & health

Cigarette smoke inside a building travels to other apartments and can affect other tenants. 

  • Smoke moves through ventilation and heating systems, cracks and openings in lighting and plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, and under doors. 
  • Secondhand smoke can't be removed by ventilation systems or opening windows.​

Secondhand smoke is dangerous to everyone's health:

  • Secondhand smoke has 250 toxic gases and tiny particles, including 70 known to cause cancer
  • The U.S. Surgeon General ruled there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses are at greatest risk.

Repeated exposure to it causes greater health risks, including:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke​

Learn more or download A Landlord's Guide to Smoke-Free Housing.

Find sample documents​ you can adapt and use.


Contact us at​ or 617-534-4718 for free help and support with smoke-free housing, including:

  • Answering questions
  • Training building staff
  • Attending resident meetings
  • Providing free resources 
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: