Oct 1, 2001

Survey of Multifamily Building Owners and Managers about Secondhand Smoke

Martha Hewett


This study was completed as part of a research project focused on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in apartment buildings. Minnesota renters, who comprise 25.4% of Minnesota households and who disproportionately include minorities, low income households, and young adults, have no guarantee of a smoke-free place to live. As a result, they are sometimes exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) entering their apartments from other apartments, from hallways or other common areas of their building, or from balconies, patios or grounds outside the building -- a phenomenon that we refer to here as “ETS transfer” or “secondhand smoke transfer.” The goal of this project is to build a sound base of knowledge that will facilitate two types of actions to reduce renters’ exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in their homes:

  • designation of smoke-free apartment buildings, and
  • ·treatment of smoking-permitted buildings to minimize ETS transfer.

This report summarizes the results of the first of six research tasks: the qualitative interviews of multifamily building owners and managers. The success of voluntary efforts to increase the number of smoke-free rental properties is ultimately dependent on property owners’ willingness to offer them. Similarly, the success of voluntary efforts to reduce ETS transfer in smoking-permitted buildings will often depend on property owners’ willingness to invest in the necessary building modifications. It is therefore essential that the other research activities conducted as part of this project address owners’ concerns and meet their information needs. The purpose of this task is to develop a thorough understanding of these concerns and needs.