Condo complexes CAN become smoke-free
Submitted to The Times Colonist
By: Adrienne Bakker, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation (BC & Yukon) and Scott McDonald, President and CEO,BC Lung Association
The B.C. government has proclaimed June as Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Month. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the B.C. Lung Association want people to know it’s legal for strata corporations to adopt a non-smoking bylaw banning smoking inside units and on balconies. Many stratas have successfully done so, and their experiences confirm that if you have the votes, it’s legal and enforceable.
Although B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in the country at 14 per cent, close to 50 per cent of British Columbians who live in condos have experienced unwanted smoke coming from their neighbours. We continually get calls from residents frustrated that they can’t get their stratas to resolve the problem or consider a non-smoking bylaw.We know that exposure to second-hand smoke is hazardous, especially for infants, children and those with certain health problems. But there’s another cost to smoking in condos — according to a recent survey we commissioned, 76 per cent of B.C. real estate agents say the resale value of condos is lower if the current owners smoke. The majority said most buyers are unwilling or less likely to buy a home that stinks of smoke.
Condo residents have a right to demand that second-hand smoke doesn’t infiltrate their home from neighbouring units or balconies, and strata councils have a duty to do something about it. More information is available at smokefreehousingbc.ca.