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Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Concerns

There is no constitutional
right to smoke

NYS Legal Memorandum

Affordable & Public Housing

Secondhand Smoke Seepage into Affordable Housing

Survey of NYS PHAs

Benefits of No-Smoking
Policies in Affordable Housing

HUD Smoke-Free Policy Guidebook

Case for Social Justice

Landlord Resources

Survey of Property Owners 2010

Cost Differences to Rehabilitiate Units

CDC Healthy Homes Manual

Helpful Links

NYC Smoke-Free Living


Increasingly, landlords throughout New York are adopting no-smoking policies and realizing the benefits. According to a community survey of property owners in 6 upstate NY counties, 97% of landlords who have a no-smoking policy are satisfied with their decision. It’s clear why. No-smoking policies attract tenants, minimize maintenance costs, reduce fire risks and decrease the potential for legal liability due to non-smoking tenants’ exposure to secondhand smoke.

A no-smoking policy does not exclude smokers; it protects the health of all residents from harmful secondhand smoke. Just as you can restrict loud noise in your rentals, you can also have a no-smoking rule for individual units, common areas and even outdoors. A no-smoking policy requires smokers to smoke outdoors in areas specified in the lease.

Below you will find a New York State Landlord Toolkit which includes tips for implementation and enforcement as well as sample leases, surveys and tenant communications to help you successfully go smoke-free. You can also contact your local Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities partner for free policy assistance and signage.

As of July 31, 2018, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) prohibited the use of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all public housing units and common areas, as well as any outdoor areas up to 25 feet from buildings. Even before the HUD rule, more than 700 public housing authorities throughout the country and more than half in New York had gone smoke-free. For guidance on implementing a smoke-free policy in public housing, contact a community partner in your county for free assistance.  You can also visit HUD’s site for a Smoke-Free Policy Guidebook.

List smoke-free properties HERESmoke-Free Housing Toolkit
see what everyone is saying

“When we made the ‘official’ announcement that the property would be smoke free on January 1, the residents applauded. And that reaction was repeated at the next property and at the next property. We were giving the residents what they wanted.”

-Pamela Berger, Belmont Housing Resources for Western New York (Buffalo, NY)

“As our survey showed that over 95% of our residents wanted a smoke-free building, we knew it would provide a safe environment for our residents and employees. The policy was quick and painless to adopt!”

-Anthony Fiala, SEPP Management Company (Binghamton, NY)

“One month after designating two of our apartment buildings at Parkwood Village as smoke free, they were 100% occupied.”

-Emily Modan, Parkwood Village
(Albany, NY)

The information and materials contained on this website are for informational purposes only and are not offered or intended to be and should not be construed to be legal advice nor to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney.