There’s a lot of information out there about smoke-free policies and smokers’ rights that sometimes difficult to separate myth from reality. Here are a few of the most common things we hear.
Myth 1: If I adopt a smoke-free policy, I will lose money.
Reality: You can save money with a smoke-free policy. You will reduce unit turnover costs. In buildings where smoking is allowed it can cost 5 to 10 times more than in smoke-free buildings. You can also save money by reducing the risk of fire. Some insurance carriers also offer a premium reduction if your property is smoke-free.
Myth 2: A smoke-free policy will cause me to lose valuable residents.
Reality: In Maine, 90% of adults believe people should be protected from secondhand smoke and 8 out of 10 renters would prefer to live in smoke-free apartments. In a 2014 survey of Maine renters 50% of those surveyed said all things being equal I would be willing to pay a little more to live in a smoke-free apartment. Surveys from other parts of the country show similar preferences for smoke-free apartments.
Myth 3: Enforcing a smoke-free policy is too difficult.
Reality: A strong policy with clear rules and communication is key. Enforcing a smoking policy is easier than dealing with disputes between smokers and nonsmokers without a policy in place. You need to be prepared to follow through with policy violations. We have many resources for landlords to help including; sample policy language, policy tips, enforcement tips, factsheets and free signage.