The smoking rate in Ontario is quite low–approximately eighty-one percent of adult Ontarians don’t smoke. A 2010 survey of multi-unit residents in Ontario found that 80% would prefer to live in a smoke-free building, if such a choice existed. Despite increasing demand for smoke-free housing options in Ontario, only a small fraction of rental units are currently smoke-free. Clearly, there is a real marketing opportunity for adopting a no-smoking policy.

While the Ontario government has gone a long way to protecting the public from the known health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke, landlords and property managers can also play an important role. Ontarians want more smoke-free options in apartments and condos. Hotels have been offering both smoking and non-smoking rooms for decades, and many are now moving to ban smoking outright. The benefits for landlords are just too compelling.

Consider the following:

  • Adopting a no-smoking policy is legal and easy to do.
  • No-smoking policies are enforceable.
  • The majority of Ontarians don’t smoke, and smoke-free homes are already a social norm – approximately 75% of all Canadian households do not permit smoking indoors. A smoke-free environment is a valuable amenity to offer tenants.
  • Demand for smoke-free homes is on the rise. There are approximately 4.5 million people living in multi-unit dwellings in Ontario, yet there is a major shortage of smoke-free options. This is especially problematic for those with chronic illnesses and health conditions.
  • Second- and thirdhand smoke damage property and cost landlords money.
  • Second-hand smoke causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
  • Non-smoking renters are beginning to realize that they don’t have to tolerate other people’s smoke infiltrating their homes and making them sick.
  • The benefits are clear. No-smoking policies are about better indoor air quality, happier tenants and a healthier bottom line.

On April 1st, 2010, Waterloo Region Housing became the first community-housing landlord in the province to implement a smoke-free policy on all new leases.

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