Benefits of Going Smoke Free

Many renters know secondhand smoke is toxic, containing over 7,000 chemicals including 70 known to cause cancer.1 More than 1 in 3 nonsmokers who live in rental housing are exposed to secondhand smoke and more than 82 percent of surveyed renters in Iowa understand that exposure to secondhand smoke presents a serious health risk.3,18

Market Demand

Floor ventAccording to the 2016 survey of property managers and renters in Iowa, 87% of renters surveyed answered that they would be likely to choose a smoke free apartment building over one that allows smoking.26 96% of respondents who reported inhaling or smelling secondhand smoke in their unit considered it a nuisance.26

Indoor Air Quality

Research shows that air flows between units in apartments and ventilation systems, air purifiers or “sealing” problem areas cannot completely eliminate or control secondhand smoke.19 The only way to eliminate secondhand smoke is by implementing a smoke free policy.

Logo for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditoning EngineersIn 2010, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) released a position document on secondhand smoke. ASHRAE encourages elimination of smoking in the indoor environment as the optimal way to minimize secondhand smoke exposure.20 View ASHRAE position document here.

Cleaning costs

The cost to clean and renovate a unit that has been smoked in typically costs 2 to 3 times, and some research suggests even 7 times more than a unit not damaged by secondhand smoke. According to a 2016 survey of property managers and landlord in Iowa, it costs on average $1,233 more to clean a unit that has been smoked in compared to a unit where a non-smoker lived.27 Nicotine and other chemicals in secondhand smoke leaves sticky residue and yellow stains on walls, carpet, blinds, appliances and other surfaces. Dropped cigarettes and ashes can leave burn damage and smoke odors can remain in carpets, curtains and walls for a very long time. This damage results in excessive cleaning costing you time and money without even guaranteeing stains, burn marks and odor will be eliminated.

Cleaning and damage to interior fixtures really affects your bottom line.

To calculate the turnover cost of a smoking unit within your rental property, use this Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Calculator

Fire Risk

Dropped cigarettes or cigarettes improperly disposed are a fire hazard and a cigarette can smolder for up to 30-45 minutes, eventually causing a fire or large amounts of smoke.21,22 Cigarettes and other smoking materials are also the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States.23 By implementing a smoke free policy, you are reducing the risk of cigarette-related fires, injury and death as well as reducing the risk of increased insurance premiums if a fire were to happen.


Revised: 12/14/18