To try to gauge both the extent of the problem of second-hand smoke infiltration as well as interest in smoke-free buildings, some Canadian surveys have been done in recent years, including 4 in Ontario.

There are a few recurring themes noted in these surveys of people living in multi-unit dwellings:

  • Roughly one-third of multi-unit residents regularly experience unwanted second-hand smoke infiltrating from neighbouring units;
  • Very few people actually lodge formal complaints because many people think that nothing can be done about the problem; and
  • Generally a majority of respondents indicate that they would likely choose a smoke-free building if they could.

In 2010 the Ontario Smoke-Free Housing Coalition commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a public opinion survey involving 1,533 adults (18+) from across Ontario who were currently living in a multi-unit dwelling, or had lived in one in the past 2 years.

About the 2010 Ipsos Reid survey.

In 2009 the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) published data from 1,500 smokers and 1,000 non-smokers on second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.

About the OTRU survey.

In 2009 the Region of Waterloo released the results of a survey mailed to all 2,723 Waterloo Region Housing tenant households. This survey, exclusive to social housing tenants, is the first of its kind in Ontario.

About the Waterloo Region survey.

In 2006 the Ontario Tobacco-Free Network commissioned Ipsos Reid to survey Ontario multi-unit residents on the issue. Over 1,800 people were polled.

About the OTN Ipsos Reid survey.

Similar surveys on this issue have been conducted in other provinces, as well as one national survey.

In 2007 Health Canada commissioned Decima Research to undertake a national survey on second-hand smoke infiltration (contract #H 1011-060067). The telephone survey had a sample size of 3,071 Canadian adults 18 years and older, of which 1,055 lived in multi-unit dwellings (rental apartments, condominiums, duplexes, row houses, semi-detached). Highlights of the poll include:

  • 19% of all multi-unit residents sometimes, often or very often experienced second-hand smoke seeping into their personal living space;
  • 62% of those who experienced unwanted second-hand smoke reported it entering through an open window or door;
  • 57% of non-smokers would prefer to live in a building where smoking is not allowed; and
  • 80% of respondents indicated that they currently do not allow smoking inside the home.

Download the survey.

To find out about surveys on this issue done in other jurisdictions in Canada, click on the links below.

British Columbia surveys

Nova Scotia survey

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