Second-hand smoke contains over 7000 toxins. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke has been linked to cancers, respiratory problems, heart disease and strokes. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke including middle ear infections, respiratory tract illnesses, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome. Children with asthma can suffer from more asthma attacks with increased severity, more ear infections and more admissions to hospital.
Children and families living in multi-unit housing can be exposed involuntarily to drifting second-hand smoke. It is important for both tenants to talk to their landlord about second-hand smoke and for landlords to enact smoke-free housing policy. A no smoking building protects you and your family from second-hand smoke. There are resources available for both tenants and landlords on the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-free Housing website.
Smoking is the leading cause of fatal home fires. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office reports that lit smoking materials are the number one ignition source in fatal fires in residential dwellings and account for 72% of structure loss fires.
Your landlord or Condo Board is permitted by law to introduce a No Smoking Policy for your building (http://smokefreehousingon.ca). The Smoke-free Ontario Act (SFOA) only specifies public areas in apartment and condo buildings to be smoke-free such as hallways, laundry rooms, stairwells, and other commonly used space. However, landlords can implement a policy to make the units smoke-free as the SFOA does not cover individual units.
In 2015, the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit released the following information about second-hand smoke exposure in their Smoke-free Ontario Strategy monitoring report:
In 2014, 29% of Ontario adults living in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) were exposed to second-hand smoke drifting between units at least once in the past month.
9 out of 10 adults in Ontario believed that smoking should not be allowed inside MUDs including apartment buildings, rooming houses and retirement homes with shared ventilation. The level of support has increased significantly since 2005 (89% vs. 73%.)