In the ongoing effort to limit the non-smoking public's exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke, municipal governments across the country are coming up with increasingly strict bans on smoking in public places—even on public streets and in parks in some communities. Perhaps not surprisingly, more and more condominium associations are following suit.
Fourteen New York City residential buildings are slated to be the first recipients of the American Cancer Society’s Healthy High-Rises certification. The program recognizes multi-unit residential buildings that have enacted policies banning smoking from anywhere inside the building—including individual apartment units. The 14 participating buildings include more than 2,700 units and nearly 5,000 total residents. The buildings will be given a highly visible Healthy High-Rise decal for display indicating that the residence is smoke-free.
“I manage a building that has implemented a smoking ban,” says Georgia Lombardo-Barton, president of Barton Management, LLC in New York City. “In the case of the building that I manage, it was the condo board’s idea and they didn’t get a lot of resistance from the residents. The residents voted over 70 percent in favor of the smoking ban.”
As recently as this past May, the 29-story, 647-unit Zeckendorf Towers in Union Square became the largest smoke-free condominium in New York City when it banned smoking in both residential units and public areas.
“It was an effort that started three years ago as a result of various complaints from neighbors being involuntarily affected by secondhand smoke,” says Maria Pico, borough manager of the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership, a health advocacy group that supports the efforts of buildings adopting smoke-free policies. “The board reached out to us for guidance on how to turn the building into a smoke-free environment. So we partnered with them and provided them information, primarily education. It took three years—it’s a process, especially with a building this large, but in the end over 85 percent of the residents voted to go smoke-free. Smoke-free housing is a growing national trend and we congratulate the board and management company on this landmark move.”