Letters: Smoke-free home should be an option
Smoke-free home should be an option "Secondhand smoke. It hurts you. It doesn't take much. It doesn't take long." Richard H. Carmona, M.D., Surgeon General. Making homes smoke free is not a new concept. The majority of Minnesotans who live in sin...
Smoke-free home should be an option
"Secondhand smoke. It hurts you. It doesn't take much. It doesn't take long." Richard H. Carmona, M.D., Surgeon General.
Making homes smoke free is not a new concept. The majority of Minnesotans who live in single-family homes made their castle smoke-free years ago. Those who live in apartments or condos are just as likely to make the areas they control smoke free. The problem is, smoke, just like noise, enters their living space and renters have no control over it. Unlike noise that is mostly a nuisance, secondhand smoke can cause discomfort, sickness, even death.
Secondhand smoke exposure in apartment buildings is a real problem. Airflow between units is significant. In some units, most of the air in the apartment is "used air" that comes from other units, with only a small amount of the air being fresh, outside air. Airflow within buildings is virtually impossible to eliminate. If there is smoking in the building, some of it will be re-circulated to the neighbors.
Establishing smoke-free policies for apartment buildings is a social justice issue. People with low incomes are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke in the home than are other groups. A single family home is simply not an option for most apartment dwellers. A concerned parent may rent an apartment where there is no apparent secondhand smoke, but if a new tenant moves in below or next door, that healthy smoke-free unit can become an unhealthy smoke-filled unit over night.
After years of receiving calls from renters pleading for assistance in solving the problems in their home, the Association for Nonsmokers - MN developed Live Smoke-Free (LSF) to increase the availability of smoke-free rental housing. LSF provides information and resources for tenants on how to cope with an existing problem and for landlords who want to make their buildings smoke free. More information is available on line at www.mnsmokefreehousing.org .
Building owners can enact smoke-free apartment policies that protect Minnesotans from unwanted exposure to secondhand smoke. That is a good thing. It is a matter of justice and health.
Jeanne Weigum, president
Association for Nonsmokers - MN