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Smoke-Free Apartments, Condos and Townhomes

If you live in an apartment, condo or townhome, you may have second-hand smoke coming into your home from your neighbour’s unit.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act protects people in Ontario from second-hand smoke in workplaces and public places such as restaurants by not allowing smoking in these areas. This includes common areas (hallways, stairwells, laundry rooms) of apartments and condominiums. Unfortunately, many people are still being exposed to  second-hand smoke where they live.

Second-hand smoke (SHS) can travel through:

  • the ventilation system Second-Hand Smoke & Apartment Buildings/Condos
  • open windows or doors
  • electrical outlets, cable or phone jacks, ceiling fixtures,
  • cracks and gaps around sinks, countertops, windows, doors, floors, walls or dropped ceilings
  • or from a neighbour’s patio or balcony

In 2010, an Ontario survey found that:

  • 42% of people have smelled second-hand smoke in their unit within the past 6 months
  • 82% of these people said that the second-hand smoke bothered them 
  • 80% of people would prefer a smoke-free building if they were able to choose from two buildings that were exactly the same

This is a problem for many families, especially for those with asthma, allergies, lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes. For children, second-hand smoke has been proven to cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as ear infections and other breathing problems.

Many people think that the private units in apartments, condos or townhomes cannot be made smoke-free. This is not correct. It is legal to make a building non-smoking. Landlords have a right to designate their building as non-smoking and a right to protect their property.

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