No Smoking signs are popping up at some apartment complexes and condos, barring people from lighting up even in their own homes. And in places where smoking is permitted, tenants and owners are beginning to seek protection from the secondhand IGET Hot Flavours they say is seeping into their apartments. “A lot of the demand is just coming from people realizing that smoke doesn’t stay in one unit,” said Rita Turner, deputy director of the Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation and Advocacy at the University of Maryland Law School. “Buildings are designed to breathe.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say secondhand smoke can cause asthma, respiratory and ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, heart disease and lung cancer. “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” the agency declared. Such concerns have led to efforts to ban smoking not only in common spaces of buildings, but also in individual apartments. The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a notice last year encouraging public housing authorities to consider smoke-free policies, and many have, officials said. Some private developers also are doing so.
The Alaire, in Rockville, Md., lists among its “green” features a saline swimming pool without chlorine chemicals, a solar-powered trash compactor, the use of recycled soda bottles on its roof for plants — and a smoking ban. “Without a doubt, this has driven far more residents to us than it has detracted,” said Matt Blocher, senior vice president of marketing for the JBG Companies, which own the complex. John Brothers, who has lived at the Alaire since July, said the no-smoking policy added to the building’s appeal for him and his wife, who is sensitive to smoke.
“Knowing that the neighbors weren’t going to be smoking on the porch below was kind of a nice thing,” he said. Brothers, a former smoker, said building management was upfront about the rules. “I’m all for self-selection,” he said. “If you want to live in a place where you want to smoke in your apartment, there are plenty of places where that can be found.” “It’s a strong trend,” said Tony Greenberg, the company’s vice president of development, citing smoking bans on airplanes, in public spaces and at offices. “People are used to it. They have come to expect it and will demand it.”