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Managers/Owners of Multi-unit Housing

Benefits to Property Owners Adopting a 100 Percent Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing Policy:

  • Lowers risk of fire damage and deaths due to fires1
  • Provides possible insurance savings2
  • Reduces cost of cleaning and renovating units2
  • Improves the health of all tenants and employees
  • Attracts more tenants and makes them morel likely to stay

Making your property smoke-free is completely legal. A smoke-free policy is about the smoke, not the smoker. You cannot refuse to rent to those who smoke; just require that all tenants abide by the policy while on the premises.

If you’re not sure how tenants feel about a smoke-free policy and want their input, a brief survey could help determine what type of policy to implement.  

Several organizations recently expressed their strong support for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to require all government subsided housing to be made smoke-free. Read the letter here.

If you’re ready to take your property smoke-free, try following these eight steps:

1. Notify the ODH Tobacco Program: There are many options to consider with a new policy. Will you prohibit smoking on the entire property grounds, or just near windows and entrances? Will you provide a designated smoking area? What about patios, balconies, and parking areas? Contact us at to start this discussion.  

2. Educate employees and tenants: Hold an informational meeting with employees and tenants. Explain why you’ve decided to go smoke-free and how the change will benefit them. Allow them to ask questions. Gain consensus.  

3. Revise your smoke-free policy: Write or revise your smoke-free policy by following the ODH model policy and rubric. This will ensure your property is recognized by the ODH as smoke-free, and will receive appropriate recognition.

4. Determine an effective date: There are two simple methods for going smoke-free: either using a quit date or a phase-in process. Both are free of grandfathering and simple to implement.

5. Modify your leases: When adopting a smoke-free policy, include a lease provision or addendum that outlines the restrictions and penalties under your policy.

6. Post appropriate signage: Request to receive free signs from the ODH to remind tenants and inform visitors of the new policy. The ODH has signage designating both “smoke-free area” and “no smoking.” To request signage, please email Include communication to remind existing tenants, incoming guests, and maintenance workers of the policy.

7. Register your smoke-free property: Please email to advertise your smoke-free property and attract tenants who are interested in smoke-free living.

8. Host a smoke-free kick-off event: Get your residents excited about your new smoke-free policy! Check back in with your tenants just before the policy goes into effect, and a few weeks after. There may be an occasional conflict between tenants that needs to be resolved.

The Ohio Department of Health Tobacco Program provides outreach and guidance for implementing tobacco policy change. If you have questions, or would like educational materials, resources, or access to webinars, please contact us at  

1. U.S. Fire Administration. “Facts About Smoking and Home Fires.”

2. Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. "Regulating Smoking in Multi-Unit Housing."