Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia
May 29, 2014

Smoke-free condos on the rise in BC

By Kirk Williams, CBC TV News

Smoke-free Housing BC has been pushing for a ban on smoking in buildings for 10 years, but advocates say the concept is starting to take off with more than 100 apartment buildings now entirely smoke-free.

(Watch CBC news story here )

'Your right to smoke stops when the air hits my nose, and my mouth and my lungs'- Provincial Health Officer Dr Perry Kendall

Less than 15 per cent of B.C. residents smoke, but nearly half live in close quarters in condos and apartment buildings.

Asthma sufferer Kathryn Tanaka says one smoker can affect a lot of neighbours.

"Imagine lying on your couch, watching TV, breathing in smoke," she said. "Imagine having dinner breathing in smoke, going to bed, breathing in smoke, working out everyday breathing in smoke. That essentially is my life right now."

Asthma sufferer Kathyrn Tanaka says one smoker can affect a lot of neighbours.

Jack Boomer with Smoke-Free Housing B.C. says it's an issue that's gaining traction.

"As people recognize in their workplace, that they are protected by second hand smoke, they want to go home to their castle and be protected from second hand smoke as well."
Smoke-free increasingly popular

Bunny Porteous with First Service Residential Property Management says the condo they manage in Yaletown went smoke-free.

"Over 70 per cent of the people considered that this was a benefit to the building and a benefit to all the owners."
Condo tower

However, disputes do happen.

Another Coal Harbour condo that went smoke-free a couple of years ago still has five to seven violators a month and is regularly levying $200 fines.

Jeremy Allison says smokers are running out of places to go.

"If I can't smoke outside, then you know, you're paying a lot of money to live in an apartment and you're not allowed to smoke."

But Provincial Health Officer Dr Perry Kendall points out, second hand smoke in a building also prevents others from enjoying their apartments too.

"Your right to smoke stops when the air hits my nose, and my mouth and my lungs," he said.

Smoke-Free B.C. is encouraging people to push landlords to change the rules in rental buildings. It says all it takes is the agreement of 75 per cent of the condo's owners.

Media Contacts
  • Katrina van Bylandt
    Director, Communications
    BC Lung Association
    Text or call 778.772.4788

    Jack Boomer
    Director, Clean Air Coalition of BC
    T 250 721 4268
    C 250 589 4268