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Below are summaries and key points of some of the research we have conducted to explore both the extent of the problem of second-hand smoke infiltration, as well as support for smoke-free housing in BC. Surveys were conducted in 2008 and 2013 of residents of multi-unit dwellings (MUDs), including apartments and condominiums, on the subject of smoke-free housing and second-hand smoke.
While the vast majority of British Columbians are protected from exposure to second-hand smoke at work and in public places, one-half of residents who live in MUDs are being exposed to unwanted smoke infiltrating their homes. This is an alarming trend given that the majority of British Columbians (85.5%) don't smoke and that multi-unit households make up 40% of all residences in BC.
Further, our research found that exposure to SHS in the home has significantly increased from 34% in 2008 to 50% in 2013.
Key findings of the 2013 Tenant survey: 833 respondents
Exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS) is very common – half of MUDs residents experience SHS in their homes.
Exposure to SHS is a very real concern:
Nearly 40% were very bothered by SHS; and
A solid majority see it as a health hazard.
MUDs residents strongly desire to live free from smoke and breathe fresh air:
Nearly two-thirds prefer to live in a building that is completely smoke-free.
Two-thirds or more support converting rental units to smoke-free when a tenant vacates.
Almost all feel that new residents should know if smoking is permitted in the building or on balconies.
Huge majorities feel they should know:
which units are designated smoking
if a previous tenant was a smoker, and
if there have been past complaints about SHS
But there are signs that MUDs residents need support in dealing with SHS exposure:
A very large majority of respondents have never complained to their landlord or condominium board about SHS.
Only half of those who did complain were satisfied with the response.
Two thirds said there was NO way to address formal complaints for their residence.
Half said their building lacks a no-smoking policy.
Highlights Tenant Survey in 2008: 1000 respondents