Engage your tenants
Communicating with Residents
You should begin communicating with residents about your intention to go smoke-free well before you implement the policy. Communication can take place through a number of methods.
Group and One-on-one Meetings
You should hold several meetings with your residents before implementing your smoke-free policy. During the first meeting, discuss your intention to go smoke-free. Share the results of your personalized smoke-free assessment, proposed policy and timeline. Listen to your tenants' questions and feedback. Consider implementing this feedback into your final policy. Be open and responsive. Be prepared with resources to answer common questions.
Hold your second meeting once your policy has been finalized. Again, be prepared with answers to common questions and concerns. Be firm on your stance and stick with the facts. Offer alternatives for smokers including cessation opportunities and potentially a designated outdoor smoking area.
Be available for one-on-one meeting with residents who have specific concerns. Let your residents know of your availability and how they can contact you if they'd like to schedule a meeting.
Invite the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to come speak with your tenants about the benefits of living in a smoke-free environment or utilize online resources to create your own presentation. If possible, have experts available such as members of the Health Department, Fire Department, tenants who have previously lived in smoke-free housing or other managers available to share their experiences.
Formal and informal written notices
A formal notice should be sent to all tenants with information about the policy, including your reasons for adopting it, the timeline for implementation, copy of the lease addendum and opportunities for comment. You may also provide residents with a calendar of upcoming meetings and/or presentations, information on cessation opportunities and other educational information about the benefits of going smoke-free.
To help make the transition to smoke-free smoother, be prepared to offer smoking residents alternatives up to and including the ability to break their lease contract if they feel they will be unable to comply with the no smoking rule.
Smoking cessation opportunities
We recommend offering several smoking cessation opportunities for residents. Funding may be available to host your own cessation program on site. Some cessation programs include:
- Freedom from Smoking
- Missouri Tobacco Quitline
- Mercy Tobacco Cessation
- Cox Health Tobacco Cessation
- Tobacco Free Life
Designated smoking areas
Prohibiting smoking everywhere on your property is the best way to protect your investment and the health of your staff members and residents. However, if you choose to offer a designated smoking area, make sure it is outdoors in a well-ventilated area at least 25 feet away from entrances, windows, patios, balconies, ventilation intakes and play areas.
Keep in mind, some owner/landlords say designated smoking areas have created new maintenance concerns. If you plan to establish a designated outdoor smoking area, consider the advantages and disadvantages.
Scheduling Lease Signings
Prior to official implementation of the policy, each tenant must sign a lease with the smoke-free policy included as a lease addendum. Once again offer alternatives such as smoking cessation at this time.