HelpContact UsFOILSite Map

Custom Navigation

Living in Tompkins County linkLearning in Tompkins County linkVisiting Tompkins County linkBusiness in Tompkins County linkTompkins County Government link

Renters Should Know the Smoking Policy Before They Sign a Lease

You are here:

You are here

> Renters Should Know the Smoking Policy Before They Sign a Lease


See the information and tips HERE from our Tompkins County Health Department.

Injury from falling is a major risk for older adults and people with disabilities.  Click HERE to review information on how to prevent falls from the Office for the Aging.

previous next

Renters Should Know the Smoking Policy Before They Sign a Lease

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Renting and want your apartment to be smoke-free? A wide majority of adults currently live in a home where smoking is not allowed.

However, when renting, tenants who want to live in a smoke-free home should understand the landlord’s smoking policy before they sign a lease.

That’s the message going out in a media campaign being waged this spring by the Tobacco Free Zone programs of Cortland, Tompkins, and Chenango Counties.

Newspaper, radio, transit, and billboards across all three counties ask, “Do you want to live in a smoke-free apartment?” The campaign is funded by a grant to the Cortland County Health Department from the N.Y.S. Bureau of Tobacco Control, and runs through June 2015.

In multi-unit residences and apartment buildings, it is virtually impossible to keep smoke from drifting into hallways or adjoining units when someone in one apartment smokes. So in effect, when one person smokes, the whole building smokes. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Health risks are especially high for infants and children, individuals with asthma or other respiratory disease, and people with heart disease or cancer.

“Too often, tenants don’t think about the smoking policy when they look at an apartment, or sign a lease,” said Ted Schiele, Tobacco Free Tompkins coordinator. “Then they move in and it turns out someone in another apartment smokes, or a smoker moves in, and smoke is drifting into their smoke-free home.”

Tobacco Free Tompkins hopes the media campaign will put the issue at the top of a renter’s checklist when apartment hunting. Renters need to ask the landlord to explain the smoking policy before they sign a lease.

In Tompkins County, 88 percent of adults live in homes where smoking is prohibited, according to the 2009 Expanded Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a survey conducted every 5 years by the New York State Department of Health.

Smoke-free multi-unit housing is now more common than ever, thanks to high tenant demand and reduced maintenance costs for buildings where smoking is prohibited. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommends a smoke-free policy for all rental housing — public, subsidized, and market rate.

In New York State, 19 public housing authorities now have smoke-free policies in place, including Rochester, Hornell, and locally Lansing and Groton. Better Housing for Tompkins County properties are also smoke-free.

Tobacco Free Tompkins is part of the Tobacco Free Zone for Cortland, Tompkins, and Chenango Counties, which is funded by a NYS grant to the Cortland County Health Department.

Recognized throughout the community by the familiar T-Free Zone signs, Tobacco Free Tompkins works its partners to keep the air smoke-free, support smokers who want to quit, and help kids beat the tobacco trap.

For more information visit or contact Ted Schiele at