Harbor Point apartments to be smoke freeHarbor Point Apartments in Two Harbors has passed a smoke free policy that will go into effect on Oct. 1. Harbor Point is joining another smoke-free building in Two Harbors, Bayview Terrace, which implemented its policy last fall.
Harbor Point Apartments in Two Harbors has passed a smoke free policy that will go into effect on Oct. 1. Harbor Point is joining another smoke-free building in Two Harbors, Bayview Terrace, which implemented its policy last fall.
Harbor Point’s smoke-free policy was driven by residents who gathered signatures of fellow tenants for support, and the need for a healthier smoke-free environment. The American Lung Association’s Smoke-Free Housing Program was then invited to do a tenant presentation on lung health, secondhand smoke and the trends around smoke-free multi-unit housing. As part of the presentation, residents were given a survey and 100 percent said they would prefer a smoke-free building. The survey also identified that two of the respondents were currently smoking in their unit and 42 percent were suffering from heart disease or a lung condition which could be worsened by the exposure to secondhand smoke.
Diane Knaffla, building manager at Harbor Point said “although I have concerns about asking people to go outside to smoke, the majority of our residents are seniors and I want this for the residents who don’t smoke and who experience the effects of the secondhand smoke in their apartments.”
A recent market survey commissioned by the American Lung Association of Minnesota of more than 600 renters in Carlton, Lake and St. Louis counties showed that smoke-free homes are already the norm. Of the 600 renters surveyed, 72 percent described their individual unit as “smoke-free.” The survey also showed that the demand for smoke-free rental housing is high: 78 percent said they would choose a smoke-free apartment building over a building that allows smoking. Even during these tough economic times, nearly 30 percent of respondents said they would even pay more rent to live in a smoke-free building.
“We know from this market survey that 30 percent of people living in rental housing in our region suffer from heart disease or a lung condition such as asthma or emphysema” said Jill Rogers, program manager for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “We also know from the 2006 Surgeon General’s report that breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can have immediate negative health effects.”
Harbor Point resident Darlene Danielson is relieved. “I’m so glad we are going smoke-free because we live in a building with many people who have asthma, COPD and heart disease, and these are our neighbors,” she said. “While sitting on my couch in my living room, the smoke from neighboring apartments makes my nose run and eyes burn.”
The American Lung Associations’ smoke-free housing program works with landlords, tenants, and the community to increase the number of voluntary smoke-free apartments in northeastern Minnesota so tenants can live in a healthy environment. Learn more at www.alamn.org/smokefreehousing.