What types of smoke are we referring to? Why is it a health hazard?

Secondhand smoke is smoke from the lit end of burning tobacco/marijuana products and smoke exhaled by a smoker. Aerosol is the vapor inhaled and exhaled from an electronic smoking device.

Secondhand smoke can move from one home into multiple homes in condo or apartment buildings through windows and doors. This happens when other residents smoke in their home or when they are on the patio, a balcony, or an outdoor courtyard. The secondhand smoke travels through hallways, plumbing, electrical systems, cabinets, closets, ceiling fans, fireplaces, and ventilation systems.

Secondhand Smoke is a Health Hazard:

  • Classified as a carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Identified as a toxic air contaminant by the California Air Resources Board
  • Contains hundreds of toxic chemicals
  • United States Surgeon General has concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure

Thirdhand smoke is the residue left behind when someone smokes indoors. Small particles from secondhand smoke can stick to furniture, cloths, walls, and floors, as well as to a person’s hair, skin, and clothing. These particles can linger on surfaces for months and build up a residue over time that is then re-emitted into the air and is toxic inside a home.

Thirdhand Smoke is a Health Hazard:

  • Chemicals from thirdhand smoke change over time and release new pollutants
  • Long-term exposure can damage human cells and DNA
  • Associated with short- and long-term health problems such as asthma and increased cancer risk
  • Common cleaning methods will not remove thirdhand smoke

Why should I be concerned with secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke can increase the risk for:

  • Asthma in both children and adults
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lung cancer
  • Deaths from fires

Who do I call if I smell tobacco smoke?

The Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program can send a letter to your housing management company/owner, indicating that there has been a complaint from a tenant about exposure to secondhand smoke in their home environment. Call (213) 351-7890 or send an email to: tobacco1@ph.lacounty.gov

What can I do about secondhand smoke?

  • Try to reach an agreement with your neighbor to limit where and when they smoke.
  • Ask your landlord or property manager to make certain areas or all areas of the building smoke-free.
  • Get involved with local coalitions in your area that are working on the issue of reducing secondhand smoke exposure in home environments.
  • Find out if your city has a smoke-free housing policy. Contact your city’s Code Enforcement office.

Do all cities in LA County have a smoke-free housing policy? Does it apply to marijuana?

Currently, 15 cities within LA County have adopted an ordinance that prohibits smoking in multi-unit housing. You may contact your local City or the Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program at (213) 351-7890 or email tobacco1@ph.lacounty.gov to find out about smoke-free properties and city policies.

If you currently live in a city with a smoke-free housing policy, marijuana smoking is automatically prohibited. Properties with two or more dwellings are considered multi-unit housing, including but not limited to apartment buildings, condominium complexes, senior and assisted living facilities, and long-term health care facilities.

However, if your city does not have a smoke-free housing policy, your landlord may adopt a voluntary policy that includes prohibiting smoking marijuana and electronic smoking devices for vaping.

For more information on legal options and services, visit ChangeLab Solutions: http://changelabsolutions.org/tobacco-control/resources-tenants

Who do I call if I smell marijuana smoke?

If you are exposed to marijuana smoke, you may reach out to S.A.F.E. (Smoke-free Air for Everyone). S.A.F.E. is a resource for rental tenants who are exposed to secondhand smoke where they live. Call (818) 363-4220 or visit http://www.smokefreeapartments.org.

Are single family homes included in smoke-free housing policies?

Single family homes are not covered by most city policies and remain at the discretion of the homeowner to be smoke-free. All Public Housing Authorities in LA County have no-smoking policies for their properties.

California Civil Code §1947.5 authorizes landlords of multi-unit housing complexes to prohibit smoking on their properties.

How do I find out if my city or the rental I’m planning to move into has a smoke-free policy?

Currently, 15 cities within LA County have adopted an ordinance that prohibits smoking in multi-unit housing. You may contact your local City or the Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program at (213) 351-7890 or email tobacco1@ph.lacounty.gov to find out about smoke-free properties and city policies.

For rental or lease properties, before moving into the unit, ask the landlord or property manager:

  • If smoking is permitted;
  • Is it specified in the lease agreement;
  • Is the entire building/property smoke-free, or only partial coverage;
  • If a smoke-free policy is in effect, does it apply to 100% of the building, within all units, indoor common areas, outdoor common areas, and is there a designated smoking area?

I am a landlord or I represent a property management company and I want to learn more.

If you want to learn more about smoke-free policies or you are interested in adopting a voluntary smoke-free policy, contact the Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program at (213) 351-7890 or email tobacco1@ph.lacounty.gov, or S.A.F.E. (Smoke-free Air for Everyone) at (818) 363-4220, for more information about this process.

Resources

TCPP Hotline: LA County Tobacco Control & Prevention Program

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
Main: (213) 351-7890
Email: tobacco1@ph.lacounty.gov