Group of Washington Affordable Housing Providers Joins Smoke-Free Trend

May 17, 2011
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Nine King County affordable housing providers in Washington state are developing no-smoking policies for their properties. The clean air transition will benefit residents living in more than 9,000 units across King County.

"This is a major achievement and public health success that will ensure more families have access to safe and healthy living environments," said Dow Constantine, King County Executive. "Everyone deserves to breathe smoke-free air where they live. Policies like these are an excellent example of how partnerships between local government, housing providers, and other community-based organizations can promote a healthier King County."

The new policies will prohibit smoking inside buildings, and on patios and balconies. The policies do not require that residents quit smoking or prohibit people who smoke from moving in. Housing providers underwent a comprehensive planning process in advance of policy implementation, including surveys of residents, meetings with building management and staff, and resident meetings to explain the new policies. In July, properties will officially begin converting units to smoke-free.

In King County, 77 percent of renters prefer smoke-free housing--including over half of people who smoke--yet only 35 percent of renters report that they live in buildings with no-smoking policies. No-smoking policies are on the rise across King County and the nation, and the trend includes low-income, market-rate, and public housing. More than 230 housing authorities in 27 states have already implemented no-smoking policies in some or all of their buildings.