Albany County passes law to protect apartment residents from secondhand smoke

ALBANY, N.Y. , April 12, 2021 – The Albany County Legislature unanimously passed today a new measure to protect residents of multi-unit housing from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure. Local Law “I” prohibits smoking and vaping of tobacco, marijuana or any similar product in indoor common areas and within ten feet of any windows and other ventilation intake.

New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), which prohibits smoking and vaping in almost all public and private indoor workplaces, extends that prohibition to common areas of multi-unit dwellings when it is a place of employment. However, some housing providers may not consider common areas of apartments as places of employment if no staff are employed to work in that building. Albany County’s law prohibits smoking and vaping in indoor common areas of ALL multi-unit housing with three or more units, regardless of whether staff are employed to work in those areas. New York City’s Smoke Free Air Act has a similar provision.

The Albany County law also strengthens and builds on the CIAA by prohibiting smoking and vaping within 10 feet of ventilation intake, requiring written communication of the policy to residents and instituting civil penalties for violations by residents or property owners.

Prohibiting smoking and vaping in common areas is a crucial step, but in order to make buildings completely smoke-free, housing providers have been adopting smoke-free policies that cover every indoor space including individual units. A partial listing is available at New York State Smoke-Free Housing Registry | Smoke-Free Housing NY

In 2006, a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report concluded that there’s no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The report further found that separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.

“Everyone deserves to work and live in a smoke-free environment. As property owners make changes to comply with Local Law “I”, they and their residents would benefit by making their apartments and condos completely smoke-free to create healthier places for everyone working and living in their buildings,” said Jeanie Orr, Program Manager for Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities.

About Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities Capital District Tobacco-Free Communities (CDTFC) is a NYS Bureau of Tobacco Control grant funded program held by St. Peter’s Health Partners. CDTFC works to increase support for New York State’s tobacco-free norm through youth action and community

This entry was posted in Featured News. Bookmark the permalink.