If you live in multi-unit housing, there is a good chance you might be breathing in your neighbors secondhand smoke. While there are many protections for people where they work and play, protections in multi-unit housing are lacking. Secondhand smoke can drift from one unit to another through windows, walls, pipes and electrical outlets. People can also be exposed to thirdhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke is the residue from cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping devices that stick to nearby surfaces. These chemicals cling to walls, carpets, clothes and hair, that can actually become more toxic over time.

What is Multi-Unit Housing?
Multi-unit housing means property containing two (2) or more Units, including, but not limited to, apartment buildings, condominium complexes, senior and assisted living facilities, and long-term health care facilities. Multi-unit housing does not include hotels/motel, campgrounds, mobile homes, single family home or single-family home with a detached or attached in-law or second unit.
Local governments and multi-unit housing owners and managers have the authority to make their properties 100% smoke and tobacco free.
There are many benefits that come with a smoke-free multi-unit policy, such as:
  • Protects non-smokers from involuntarily exposure to the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Lowers risk factors for respiratory disease, cancer and other health conditions in vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, seniors, and those with underlining chronic health conditions such as heart diseases or other cancers.
  • Reduces cigarette butt litter and other tobacco waste
  • Protect pets from exposure to secondhand smoke and thirdhand smoke
  • Reduces the risk of house fires caused by cigarettes or e-cigarette batteries
  • Saves property owners and manager money from insurance saving, reduced cleaning costs and maintenance and lessens turn-over
  • Encourages people to quit smoking/vaping or reduce their use

By creating smoke-free multi-unit housing, communities can provide an opportunity for everyone to live smoke-free, regardless of economic means, race, or ethnicity.

Resources are available for the following; Owners & Managers, Residents and Governments & Policy Makers. Click below for more information.


Vista Community Clinic Tobacco Control Program staff can provide support to including step-by-steps guides, sample policies, useful resources and a list of properties in North San Diego County with voluntary policies – Smoke-Free MUH North County List

How can I get more information about turning my multi-unit housing complex smoke-free?
Contact Nancy Rocha, Program Coordinator at nrocha@vcc.org or 760-631-5000 ext 1050


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