October 10, 2017 - October 8 to 14 is Fire Prevention Week, and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit is calling on multi-unit housing providers in Thunder Bay and the District to adopt smoke-free policies for their buildings. The benefits of implementing smoke-free policies affect tenants and landlords, alike.
Currently, one in four Ontarians resides in an apartment or condo where they may be involuntarily exposed to second-hand smoke through shared walls, hallways or ventilation systems. With second-hand smoke containing more than 7000 chemicals, exposure in multi-unit housing affects the health of all residents, particularly infants, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“Smoke-free policies create healthier indoor air and also help prevent residents, their families and pets from being put in unnecessary danger,” says Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health. “It is important for landlords and tenants to come together and adopt smoke-free policies to help protect everyone from unnecessary health risks."
In addition to the health benefits, implementing smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing can also make a home significantly safer.
"Smoking indoors is one of the leading causes of residential fires in northwestern Ontario,” says Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Chief John Hay. “Avoiding smoking in the home and on balconies is one of the easiest ways to prevent fires in apartments or shared housing environments."
Implementing a smoke-free policy will not only help reduce the risk of fire, but will also help landlords improve their bottom-line. Safer buildings can lead to cheaper insurance premiums, and smoke-free properties are also cheaper on average to renovate and turn over than those that allow smoking.
Smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing are legal and enforceable. Landlords are encouraged to adopt a smoke-free housing policy and connect with their health unit for support. Tenants can initiate the move towards smoke-free housing by asking landlords to adopt smoke-free policies.
For more information on smoke-free housing and fire prevention, call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 625-8800 or toll-free at 1-888-294-6630, ext. 8800 or visit https://SmokeFreeHousingOn.ca/FirePrevention/
Contact: Anthony Stokaluk, Public Education Officer-Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, 625-2802 (office), 631-7033 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org