Welcome to Our Clean Air ZoneSmoke-Free Initiative of West VirginiaSmoke-Free Initiative of West Virginia
 

Welcome to the West Virginia Smoke-Free Housing Project.  Our site is dedicated to educating apartment owners, property managers, condominium associations and tenants about the dangers and legal issues that may arise from drifting tobacco smoke pollution.  Our site provides information and resources on how to handle complaints and how to implement smoke-free policies.  Landlords can register their smoke-free properties on our site so that tenants can easily locate these units.

 

Tobacco smoke can be more than a nuisance.  It is classified as a Class A Carcinogen and is a toxic air contaminant that can cause illnesses in otherwise healthy people.1  It doesn’t take a lot of people smoking indoors to generate a considerable amount of tobacco smoke in enclosed areas.  For some individuals, even small doses and short amounts of exposure can be debilitating.  Even the most sophisticated ventilation systems cannot remove the cancer causing agents in tobacco smoke.

 

It is nearly impossible to completely eliminate the seepage of tobacco smoke into units that are connected.  It can seep through light fixtures, ceiling crawl spaces, ventilation systems, balconies and under doorways.  It is estimated that 60% of the air in an apartment comes from other units. 2

 

According to U.S. Census data from 2000, nearly 25% of West Virginians reside in rental units.  That’s 182, 782 rental units out of a total of 736, 481 housing units in the State.  With so many West Virginians living in rental housing, landlords and property owners can significantly impact public health in a positive way by providing smoke-free housing.

 

It is important to remember that smoke-free policies are not discriminatory. Owners and operators of multi-unit dwellings, public housing and condominiums can adopt smoke-free policies both for indoor and outdoor areas.  Tenants with serious disabilities may be protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

 

 

1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (U.S. EPA 1992). Respiratory health effects of passive smoking: lung cancer and other disorders. Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

2 John Howard, M.D., Chief of the California Division of Occupational   Safety and Health, at a legislative hearing, 1994.

 

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