Online Program

Empowering residents to find healthier housing through a secondhand smoke policy disclosure law

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Sarah Mayberry, BS, Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, Portland, ME
Tina Pettingill, MPH, Community Education, MaineHealth, Scarborough, ME
It is well known that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and if smoking is permitted within a multi-unit housing building, the toxic secondhand smoke chemicals can move with the up to 65% of air that is exchanged between units. Studies have shown that the majority of residents would prefer to live in a smoke-free environment but unless they ask about policies may be unaware of potential secondhand smoke dangers before moving in. A landlord secondhand smoke policy disclosure law increases tenant awareness of current building smoking policies allowing them to make an educated decision about healthy living conditions prior to signing a lease agreement and decreasing the risk of involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke, especially for vulnerable populations. In 2011, Maine became the second state in the nation to adopt a landlord secondhand smoke policy disclosure law. The Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine has been responsible for providing law education and to supporting landlords to understand and comply with the law. A secondhand smoke policy disclosure law benefits both multi-unit housing residents and landlords which could be easily implemented in other areas. In addition to empowering residents to find appropriate, healthy housing, this law ensures that residents are aware of a building's policy and can help landlords avoid potential conflicts over smoking with tenants and assist in enforcement. Secondhand smoke policy disclosure laws provide clarity around the legality of smoke-free housing policies and provide property owners with an incentive to adopt such policies.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain the parameters of a landlord secondhand smoke policy disclosure law. List at least two benefits of a landlord secondhand smoke policy disclosure law.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Policy, Tobacco Legislation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Program Director for the Breathe Easy Coalition of Maine, an umbrella organization for the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine, I have been responsible for educating and supporting property owners/managers in implementing Maine's secondhand smoke policy disclosure law.
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.