There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It presents an immediate and serious health threat, due to the effects of tobacco smoke inhalation in enclosed areas. Regulating smoking in public and workplaces eliminates this threat. – 2010 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General
Smoke Free Schools
- Indiana has made substantial progress toward reducing smoking among Hoosier youth. However, an estimated 3,700 Hoosier youth become new daily smokers each year, and unless smoking rates continue to decrease, an estimated 151,000 Indiana youth currently under age 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.
- To prevent exposure to secondhand smoke and the normalization of tobacco and vaping use among youth, we work with school board members, staff, parents, students, and other community members to support comprehensive smoke-free campuses.
Smoke Free Workplaces
- In 2014, St Joseph County lost 55 lives to premature death and $89.2 million in medical costs, attributed to secondhand smoke. Although the City of South Bend – the county seat and largest municipality – passed a comprehensive ordinance in 2016, the balance of the county has weak and ineffective rules.
- Working to educate elected representatives in Mishawaka and St Joseph County councils, we seek a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance to protect all workers from secondhand smoke exposure.
Smoke Free Housing
- The ability to live in a smoke-free home is a choice that everyone should have. Unfortunately, for those who live in multi-family buildings such as apartments and condominiums, breathing secondhand smoke from neighboring units has become a real health problem. Secondhand smoke exposure is dangerous at any level, and secondhand smoke often times seeps into neighboring units through cracks in the walls, ventilation systems, and open windows.
- Landlords and property owners have the legal right to make their rental properties smoke-free.
- Reduced maintenance costs: Apartment turnover costs for units previously occupied by smokers may be 2 to 7 times higher than for smoke-free units.
- Reduced fire risk: According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking was responsible for an average of 6,800 fires in multi-unit housing structures in the United States each year between 2010 and 2014. These fires resulted in an average of 470 injuries, 130 deaths, and $194 million in property damage annually.
- Protect tenants’ health: If a property owner has a tenant who is sensitive to secondhand smoke or has breathing disorders, the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the Fair Housing Act may require they provide accommodations to protect the tenant from secondhand smoke in their residential properties.
- Most tenants prefer to live in smoke-free housing. In 2015, over 7 in 10 (72%) Hoosier multi-unit housing residents reported that they supported no smoking rules in individual units or common areas.
- Communities across the state have taken steps to address this issue, by passing laws that limit or prohibit smoking in and around multi-family housing, including the establishment of non-smoking units and non-smoking common areas.