246225 Secondhand Smoke and Condominiums: Policy Approaches

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:10 PM

Warren Ortland Jr., Juris Doctor , Public Health Law Center, William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, MN
Recent regulation of smoking has focused on eliminating exposure in work places and public places. People spend more time in their homes, however, than in any other location. Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit residences will significantly improve the public's health. Smoke-free policies also make sense in difficult financial times due to reduced maintenance and fire-related costs.

Progress has been made in promoting smoke-free policies for multi-unit rental properties, but common interest communities, primarily condominiums, are lagging behind. This session will share the results of a Minnesota study, assessing the experience with, and attitudes towards, secondhand smoke of condominium owner-occupants and property managers. A random sample of 495 condominium owners were surveyed by mail and telephone, and 17 condominium property managers were interviewed by phone. Contacts were asked about the frequency of secondhand smoke intrusion in their unit, their opinion on various policy options to control secondhand smoke, and their preference for a building's smoking policy.

The ownership aspect of condominiums raises different legal issues than those in the landlord and tenant context. The parties in any dispute are different; owner versus owner or homeowners' association as opposed to tenant versus landlord. The law is also different: state common interest community statutes versus landlord tenant law. This session will share the results of research on legal options available to owner-occupants and homeowners' associations to address secondhand smoke incursions and will review public policy and legislative approaches to reducing exposure.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the current experience and attitudes of condominium owner-occupants and property managers towards secondhand smoke. Identify options to advance smoke-free policies in the common interest community setting, including assessment instruments and educational tools. Analyze the legal issues involved in advancing secondhand smoke policies and legal options to overcome obstacles.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: J.D. 2004, William Mitchell College of Law; Co-Principal Investigator on Secondhand Smoke and Common Interest Communities Research Project; Author: A Warning Label for Your Apartment Building: Disclosing Smoking Policies for Multi-Unit Buildings, Hennepin Lawyer, 2009
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.