City campaign seeks to expand ‘smoke-free’ housing

A new city campaign aimed at getting landlords to ban smoking inside their properties was launched last week. The Boston Public Health Commission is leading the “Go Smoke-Free” effort, which includes original photography of local property owners and managers showcasing their smoke-free homes and their reasons for going smoke-free.

“We went smoke-free to reduce the conflicts between landlord and tenants about smoking in the apartments, reduce the cost of repairs, and acquire more tenants who want to live smoke-free,” said Mrs. Arnetta Baty, a landlord who owns a 3 family rental property with her husband in Dorchester.

In the past 12 months, the campaign has helped transition 8,500 apartment units within the City of Boston to smoke-free, including 900 units owned by Codman Square Development Corporation and three units owned by a Dorchester family.

Cruz Management Corporation, Codman Square Community Development Corporation and the Baty family from Dorchester are all featured in the campaign. The campaign will be displayed on 35 billboards in nine neighborhoods and in seven newspapers around the city, offering insight from managers of smoke-free properties as well as resources for landlords.

“We want every family in Boston, in all our neighborhoods, to have a safe, healthy home environment,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I applaud the efforts of this program to improve the health of Boston residents by making it easier to find and live in a home environment that supports long term health.”

“We’re pleased that these landlords have taken this opportunity to demonstrate to their peers how going smoke-free is beneficial to both their tenants and their own families,” said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. “We know that when homes are smoke-free, residents are safer and healthier, particularly those residents with the highest risks associated with secondhand smoke, like children with asthma or the elderly.”

“Going smoke-free with our housing portfolio was the right choice for Codman Square NDC,” said Marcos Beleche, Associate Director for Codman Square NDC. “Not only did it help address the health needs of children and older adults dealing with asthma and other airborne ailments, but it also complemented other green measures used in our buildings that contribute to a better quality of life for residents and a healthier housing community.”

Along with raising awareness of the benefits of smoke-free homes, the campaign provides trainings, a landlord guide and online curriculum to help landlords begin the process of going smoke-free, and to help tenants advocate for changes.

This public awareness campaign is funded through the Centers for Disease Control, which provides funding to BPHC through its Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Health (REACH) and Partnerships in Community Health (PICH) funding streams.

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