Multifamily buildings should have complete smoking bans inside and near buildings in order to protect nonsmoking adults and children, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The association said in information provided by the Colorado Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution that while smoking has become less common in recent years, the only way to ensure nonsmoking adults and children are protected is a full multifamily ban on smoking because “the building and its systems can reduce odor and discomfort but cannot eliminate exposure when smoking is allowed inside or near a building.
“This position is supported by the conclusions of health authorities that any level of environmental-tobacco-smoke (ETS) exposure leads to adverse health effects.”
The multifamily smoking ban is needed because:
- “Even when all practical means of separation and isolation of smoking areas are employed, adverse health effects from exposure in non-smoking spaces in the same building cannot be eliminated.
- “Neither dilution ventilation, air distribution (e.g., “air curtains”) nor air cleaning should be relied upon to control ETS exposure.”
The association said that while smoking has become less common, it continues to have significant impacts on health and maintenance costs.
“While ASHRAE does not conduct research on the health effects of indoor contaminants, ASHRAE has been involved in this topic for many years. Through its committees, standards, handbooks, guides, and conferences, ASHRAE has long been providing information to support healthful and comfortable indoor environments, including efforts to reduce indoor ETS exposure.”
- ASHRAE is committed to encouraging lawmakers, policymakers and others who exercise control over buildings to eliminate smoking inside and near buildings.
- ASHRAE’s current policy is that its Standards and Guidelines shall not prescribe ventilation rates or claim to provide acceptable indoor air quality in smoking spaces.
- ASHRAE holds the position that the only means of avoiding health effects and eliminating indoor ETS exposure is to ban all smoking activity inside and near buildings. This position is supported by the conclusions of health authorities that any level of ETS exposure leads to adverse health effects. Therefore,
- ASHRAE recommends that building-design practitioners work with their clients to define their intent, where smoking is still permitted, for addressing ETS exposure in their buildings and educate and inform their clients of the limits of engineering controls in regard to ETS.
- ASHRAE recommends that multifamily buildings have complete smoking bans inside and near them in order to protect nonsmoking adults and children.
- ASHRAE recommends, given current and developing trends, that further research be conducted by cognizant health authorities on the health effects of involuntary exposure in the indoor environment from smoking cannabis, using hookahs, using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and engaging in other activities commonly referred to as vaping or using e-cigarettes.
This information was provided by the Colorado Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution and Pete Bialick, President. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The organization provides tips for housing providers looking to make their communities smoke-free at mysmokefreehousing.org.