UCLA study shows majority of Angelenos support smoke-free apartment policies, yet 4 out of 5 apartments still not protected

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research recently released a study showing that the majority of Angelenos support smoke-free apartment policies, yet 4 out of 5 apartments still are not protected. More than 80 percent of Los angeles apartment dwellers are not protected from secondhand smoke and would support smoke-free policies in their buildings. The studies conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research outline findings from nearly 1,000 door-to-door tenant interviews held in some of the most densely populated areas of the city of Los Angeles, as well as reports submitted to UCLA by 93 apartment owners representing over 5,400 units in the city.

While the number of apartments covered by a smoke-free policy is low (20 percent), the studies indicate that support is high among both tenants and landlords. Eighty-two percent of tenants said they would prefer to live in a smoke-free apartment. Ironically, those who smoke were even more likely to support a smoke-free policy, with eighty-five percent preferring to live in a smoke-free apartment. The majority of landlords (55 percent) also expressed support for these policies, noting the value of creating a healthy environment, lowering and increasing marketability of the property. In addition, landlords with smoke-free policies already in place unanimously reported that these policies had no negative effect on vacancy rates, according to the study.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous at any level and can lead t many avoidable health conditions, including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and asthma. Children and the chronically ill are particularly vulnerable. According to the study, 37 percent of residents report smoke drifting into their home from another apartment or a common area. Households with a child, chronically ill resident or person of color were even more likely to be exposed. Yet currently there is no ordinance in the city of Los Angeles that prohibits indoor smoking in apartments and condominiums, even in common areas where children frequently play.

For more information, please visit www.smokefreeaptsla.org.