After reviewing benefits and legal implications of smoke-free buildings, you will want to find out what other tenants think about a no-smoking policy. This will help develop a plan for your building. If your buildings are large, you may want to start a committee or group to help work on this issue. The committee may want to consider:

  • What is the long-term vision for your policy?
  • Look at past second-hand smoke related complaints since these can offer information about the type of no-smoking policy you develop.
  • Ask staff and other stakeholders for input and include them in the development of the policy.This will encourage buy-in and support.
  • Conduct a tenant survey to find out:
    • the extent of the problem of second-hand smoke in the building (i.e. number of tenants affected);
    • the number of tenants that currently don’t allow smoking inside;
    • the number of tenants who smoke;
    • the level of support for various no-smoking policy scenarios.

View an example of a sample cover letter and survey you could use for your building.

You could also use survey results from other sources to inform your decision. Several population surveys have been completed in Ontario in addition to those for private buildings. Themes from these surveys include:

  • Approximately one-third of multi-unit residents regularly experience unwanted second-hand smoke in their unit
  • Very few people formally complain about second-hand smoke in their unit because most think that nothing can be done about it
  • A majority of people indicate they would choose a smoke-free building if the choice existed.

In 2010 the Ontario Smoke-Free Housing Coalition commissioned Ipsos Reid to conduct a survey of approximately 1,500 Ontario adults 18+ about exposure to second-hand smoke in their multi-unit dwellings. Respondents included renters, condo owners and co-op members who were currently living in a multi-unit dwelling or had done so in the past two years. Highlights of the survey include:

  • About a third (32%) of respondents indicated they were exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis (a few times a week or more, once a week or once every couple of weeks)
  • Over half (53%) reported that the smoke came in from outside, through an open window
  • About a third (35%) have approached landlords/management/government in an effort to address the problem
  • Asked to choose between two identical buildings, 80% would select the building where smoking was prohibited

Read Ipsos Reid’s final report.