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aparment3.jpgCigarette smoke can easily seep into other apartments in multi-unit buildings – through walls, doors, electrical outlets and ventilation systems. There is no way to eliminate this exposure. Not only is the smell annoying, secondhand smoke affects many parts of the human body in children and adults.

Smoking is also the number cause of home fire deaths in the United States. Every year, men, women and children are killed in home/apartment fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. Most victims of smoking-related fires never thought it could happen to them.

*North Dakota's smoke free law prohibits smoking in most indoor public places, including common areas of apartment buildings, such as hallways, laundry rooms, recreation/common rooms, lobbies, and similar types of areas as well as 20 feet from public entrances. This law, however, does not apply to individual units in multiunit housing. The policies in those units are decided by the building owner.

What can you do?

The good news is many landlords are choosing to offer smoke-free housing. Talk to your landlord or your local housing authority about making your building smoke-free. A smoke-free building is healthier for residents and it’s also easier to keep clean and less expensive to maintain. Here are some tips for having that conversation:

1. Start the conversation by sharing the Benefits of Going Smoke-free  and explain how secondhand smoke is affecting you.

2. Write a letter to your landlord requesting a no-smoking rule and include any specific issues you're experiencing with secondhand smoke.

3. Talk to your neighbors about secondhand smoke and build support. Chances are they also prefer smoke-free housing. Consider asking them to talk to the landlord as well.

4. If you have a disability that you think is related to secondhand smoke, such as asthma or smoke allergies, you may ask your landlord for "reasonable accommodations" to allow you to use your housing just like everybody else.

Reasonable accommodations might include making your building smoke-free, being moved to a non-smoking building with separate ventilation or sealing off your apartment.

You can also help promote smoke-free housing by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Locate Smoke-Free Housing
You can find a smoke-free property through the ND Apartment Association. To look for a smoke-free apartment, make sure to check the "Smoke-Free" box under amenities.

Help is Available
To help guide you through this process or if you have questions or concerns regarding smoke-free housing, contact your Local Public Health Unit.
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