Skip to main content

Multi-Unit Housing

Did you know?

87% of Oklahomans agree that apartment and condominium complexes should provide the option of smoke-free buildings.

Did you know?

Smoke-free policies are legal. There is NO right to smoke.

Did you know?

In the U.S., there are an estimated 41,000 adult deaths each year caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Across the United States, thousands of property managers have implemented smoke-free policies. More are jumping on board every month. Studies prove this is not only an economical choice for landlords and property owners, but also a healthy, well sought-after feature by tenants. 

In the U.S., there are an estimated 41,000 adult deaths each year caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Multi-unit housing residencies are one of the most common places where non-smokers are exposed to toxic secondhand smoke chemicals.

The Breathe Easy program offers several resources for everyone, including property managers, tenants, and staff.

We can provide sample policies, enforcement assistance, technical assistance, and even Breathe Easy decals letting people know you have gone smoke-free…..all for FREE.

Request Materials

To request decals and/or signage, please visit our Request Materials page.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no such thing as a right to smoke, nor is it protected by any federal, state, or local laws. Therefore, a landlord can adopt and enforce a smoke-free policy. If a tenant is renting, they do not own the property, your organization does. 

Smoke-free policies not only protect tenants, but also protects you as a landlord and your investments. Implementing a smoke-free policy can reduce liability, lower the risk of fires, lower insurance premiums, and save money on turnaround. Check out our Breathe Easy Landlord Manual for more information.

Breathe Easy currently has two sample smoke-free policies which can be found in the Resources section. The first policy includes a “buffer zone” which means smoking or vaping is only allowed if the individual is, at minimum, 25 feet away from any entrance or opening to a public building.  A “buffer zone” policy may also include designated smoking area that is located at least 25 feet away from any building entrance. 

The second policy is a comprehensive, completely smoke-free policy which states no smoking, tobacco use, or vaping at anytime, anywhere on the property. If you are a government-funded property, you must at least adopt the 25-ft buffer zone policy, however, you are legally allowed to adopt a comprehensive policy instead. 

If you are unsure which policy is right for your property, you may wish to complete an assessment. This could be as simple as cost analysis benefits or a resident survey (either full residential survey or create a small residential board). Remember, you must give residents at least a 30-day grace period before implementation can go into effect to allow time to either adopt lifestyle changes or send in their lease termination. You may consider offering options such as early lease termination for residents who don’t wish to change, allowing them to break their lease early without penalties. 

If you are allowing smoking or vaping on balconies and patios, it is strongly suggested to only allow this in certain buildings, such as having only one building allowed for smoking and all others are smoke-free. However, this is not ideal and does not fit in with either of the Breathe Easy policies as this smoke can still stream into the home as well as other units nearby. If you wish to allow smoking on your property, consider the 25-ft buffer zone policy.

There are several ways you can enforce a smoke-free policy, even with little on-site staff. 

First, properties should post signage that alerts people of the policy. Breathe Easy offers free decals to be placed at entrances and exit doors to buildings as well as metal outdoor signs at little to no cost to post in parking lots and at entrances to the property. For more information, see our Request Materials section.  If you have additional or specific questions, please contact us using the Contact Us option. 

Another option is to add tenant responsibility to the addendum or policy. Tenants and household members can be responsible for enforcing the policy to their guests, invitees, and visitors. Tenants should be asked to report a violation of the smoke-free policy in writing to the property manager or other designated employee. Properties may use a tiered violation enforcement as typically used in accordance to other lease violations. While eviction may be allowed, it is strongly encouraged to be the absolute last resort when dealing with smoking and vaping violations. Violations may include requiring the violator to pay for any damages caused by the violation, including odor and residue removal. 

The best way to understand including marijuana in your policy is to remember, smoke is smoke. As stated throughout the Breathe Easy website, there is no legal right to smoke, whether it is tobacco or marijuana. It is still 100% legal to prohibit smoking medical marijuana in your smoke-free policy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke and contains some of those chemicals in higher amounts.” For more information about medical marijuana, please visit the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority website.

Contact Us

For answers to any questions, inquiries, or technical assistance needs, please visit our Contact Us page. Include basic information on what your needs are, if anything is time sensitive, the best way to contact you and include time of day in the comment box and someone will reach out to you within 2-3 business days.

Resources


Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Chronic Disease Prevention Services
Tobacco Prevention & Control Program
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Email: OnlyAir@health.ok.gov

Back to Top