Preventing Illness and Promoting Wellness for Communities in Eastern Connecticut

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  • Ashford
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  • Tolland
  • Willington

 Smoke-Free Housing Initiative

The research is clear: the benefits of implementing smoke-free policies in multi-unit properties are undeniable, not only from a health perspective, but also from a financial perspective. Perhaps this is why smoke free policies are increasingly becoming the standard, rather than the exception, for multi-unit housing in the U.S.

The Tolland County Community Transformation Initiative Team is here to provide you with assistance as you seek to gather facts and consider implementing a smoke-free policy for the properties you own and/or manage. Smoke free policies do not ban a smoker from renting or require the smoker quit; they only state that a smoker cannot smoke while on the property or can only smoke in designated areas.

Following are some resources that may be useful for you. As always, please feel free to contact us directly at (860) 429-3325.


Third-hand smoke in multi-unit housing 

The CT Department of Public Health on second-hand smoking


Reasons to explore smoke-free housing

Higher profits, happier tenants, healthier apartments  

Financial impact of smoke-free housing policies 

The CT Department of Public Health stance on tobacco-free living


Download the Toolkit for Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing developed by the Community Health Action Response Team (CHART)

Steps to implement a smoke-free policy for tenants

Smoke-free signs

Examples of smoke-free policies and tenant leases

Sample letters to tenants


National Center for Healthy Housing

Healthy Housing Links

Thinking about Quitting?

It is legal to ban smoking on and in properties.



  • Smoking is not a legal right. Smoke free policies do not infringe on the legal rights of individuals.[4]
  • Federal or state law does not restrict owners, landlords or managers from adopting “no smoking” policies.  In fact, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development strongly encourages owners and managers to adopt smoke free policies for their properties.[5] 



    Remember, smoke free policies are about the smoke, not the smoker.



    Tenants have rights protecting them from secondhand smoke.


    • The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) implies that landlords are to provide a safe and habitable environment to protect tenants. (6)  
      • This means handling all unwanted nuisances such as noise, poor ventilation, heating and secondhand smoke exposure that substantially affects the tenant’s enjoyment of the premises.
    • The landlord should take actions to prevent secondhand smoke from causing harm to tenants and affecting their enjoyment of the property. 
    • Landlords that do not take action may be liable to legal action should the tenant show they have been harmed

    Listed below are some ways tenants can bring legal action regarding secondhand smoke exposure against the owner, manager or other tenants under common law. [7]



    -Breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment             


    -Breach of warranty of habitability                         


    -Intentional infliction of emotional distress              


    -Constructive eviction                                          



    • The Americans With Disabilities Act and the FHA state that no one can be discriminated against in workplaces, public places or in housing due to disability.


    • Severe breathing problems are considered a disability.  Facilities are required to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with severe breathing disabilities, which may include making the facility totally smoke-free.[9]
    •  Connecticut’s code regulating landlord-tenant relations empowers the local health department/ district to determine whether ventilation or other sanitary conditions pose a threat to health, and if so, order the landlord. [10]


    Ventilation is Not a Solution.


    According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE):



    • There is no known ventilation or air cleaning system that can eliminate all the toxins from another resident’s smoke. 
    • Sealing outlets, cracks and other places where smoke seeps through does not eliminate  smoke traveling from unit to unit. 
    • ASHRAE encourages smoke-free policies as "the only complete solution to the problem of secondhand smoke."[11]