A new study released by researchers at UCLA found that owners of multi-unit-housing could save up to $18 million a year if they enforced 'complete smoke-free' policies in rental property.
The study said, "When apartment tenants light up a cigarette, it's not just their smoking-averse neighbors who suffer. Landlords are also sucking it up, in increased cleaning costs."
Respondents to the study [pdf] reported "smoking related expenses beyond standard operations that included cleaning, repairs and maintenance, painting or decorating, trash collection, fire damage, property and fire insurance, legal costs and administrative expenses."
According to the survey one third of multi-unit-housing (MUH) in the state of California is smoke-free, while 25% of the rental properties had smoking related costs that ranged up to $5000 per property per year.
UCLA researchers said this could be "reduced by half if the properties enacted and enforced a complete smoke-free policy. The implementation of smoke-free policies state-wide would save rental property owners "$18 million overall in the short-term."
The survey, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, found over 10 million Californians live in rental property in the state, and are experiencing medical issues related to secondhand smoke spread through shared air spaces in hallways and ventilation systems or by drifting from outdoor common areas into open doors and windows.
"Secondhand smoke is an important cause of morbidity and mortality, and many current policy efforts are focused on encouraging owners and managers of multi-unit housing to implement smoking restrictions," said lead study author Dr. Michael Ong, an assistant professor-in-residence in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "California has minimized exposure to secondhand smoke by restricting smoking in multiple public venues, including workplaces, public entryways, public parks and beaches, and vehicles carrying youths
The Surgeon General says that secondhand smoke is harmful to both adults and children, causing 3000 lung cancer deaths per year among non-smokers. It is blamed for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia, increased and often more severe asthma attacks, SIDS, and ear infections.
The Surgeon General reports "there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Establishing smoke-free environments is the only proven way to prevent exposure."
Based on the conclusion of the UCLA researchers and the Surgeon General's statement an across the board smoke-free policy by rental property owners will not only save money but will save lives in the long term.