Currently, one in three Ontarians live in an apartment, condo or co-op where they may be involuntarily exposed to smoke through shared walls, hallways or ventilation systems. Smoking indoors is also the number one source of fires in the home.
There is no safe exposure to second-hand smoke and ventilation systems do not adequately prevent people from being exposed to a neighbour’s smoking. As smoking is the number one cause of fires in the homes, it is important for landlords and tenants to come together and adopt no-smoking policies for their buildings to help protect everyone from unnecessary health and safety risks.
Exposure to second-hand smoke in multi-unit housing affects the health of all residents, especially infants, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which 69 are cancer causing and over 250 others are regulated toxins.
Tenants can ask for buildings to adopt no-smoking policies, which will help benefit their health through reduced expose to second-hand smoke. Landlords can implement a no-smoking policy that can help reduce the risk of fire, which will also help improve their bottom-line. Properties with no-smoking policies are cheaper on average to renovate or turnover than those that allow smoking. No smoking policies can also lead to cheaper insurance premiums due to reduced risk of fire.
There are steps you can take to prevent fires, and protect yourself, your family and your home.
- Check smoke alarm batteries at least once every year.
- Get smoke alarms that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames.
- Place properly installed and maintained smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Don’t allow smoking anywhere inside your home, apartment, condo or
co-op. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the
- Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to follow these steps as well.