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As part of National Home Fire Safety Week, November 24-30, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is calling for all multi-unit housing in Grey Bruce to adopt no-smoking policies.

It is important for landlords and tenants to work together to bring smoke-free policies to their buildings,” says Dr. Hazel Lynn, Medical Officer of Health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit. “Getting rid of smoking in a home, an apartment, condo or co-op building protects everyone from unnecessary health and safety risks.”

A 2012 survey found 70 per cent of Grey Bruce residents somewhat or strongly supported a smoking ban inside multi-unit dwellings.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit congratulates Bruce County Housing Corporation, Grey County & Owen Sound Housing Corporation and Owen Sound Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation for taking the lead in making their residential units non-smoking. These housing providers are protecting their tenants with policies that create safer buildings and healthier indoor air.

One in three Ontarians lives in an apartment, condo, or co-op where they may be exposed to unwanted smoke through shared walls, hallways, or ventilation systems. Second-hand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and smoke-free housing can help reduce that exposure.

Smoking indoors is also the number one cause of fires in the home.

"Making your home a no-smoking zone doesn't just prevent fires, it also protects the people who live there, particularly those at high risk, from the serious health risks associated with exposure to second and third-hand smoke,” said George Habib, President and CEO, Ontario Lung Association.

Tenants can ask for a no-smoking policy in their building to reduce their exposure to second-hand smoke. Landlords can implement a no-smoking policy to lessen the risk of fire. Properties with no-smoking policies are, on average, less expensive to renovate or turnover than those that allow smoking. No-smoking policies may also lead to lower insurance premiums due to reduced risk of fire.

The Health Unit offers support and resources to assist with the development of a smoke-free policy. Landlords who adopt a smoke-free policy can have their building listed in the provincial Smoke-Free Housing Directory. www.smokefreehousingon.ca/sfho/directory.html

For more information on smoke-free housing and fire prevention, visit: www.smokefreehousingon.ca/sfho/fire.html