You walk into a beautiful vacant apartment and something immediately hits you. An inescapable aroma of the past. A scent that doesn't seem to want to leave. You smell smoke. Cigarette smoke to be exact. This is something we have always had to deal with in the apartment industry. Smoke can leave behind odors, stained walls and can have other damaging effects when smoked indoors. A study by UCLA and California Apartment Association claims that costs of a restoration of a two-bedroom apartment inhabited by a heavy smoker could cost $8,000 per unit. The same report claims that to turn the unit costs at least 3-4 times more if the person was a heavy smoker.
This is exactly why there is a rising trend in multifamily to move toward smoke free buildings. In doing so, owners and operators have been limiting the damage to properties as well as providing better options to residents who are prone to smoke allergies or simply prefer a smoke free community. One controversial topic with smoke free communities is electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes are a popular method to smoke and many feel they can use these e-cigarettes inside without any of the negative consequences. Electronic cigarettes are finally getting tested and reviewed and the findings could be problematic. In 2016 the U.S. Surgeon General's Office released "E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General," which states, "Secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless water vapor. The aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public's health, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.”
While society continues to move in a smoke free direction, we are watching to see if the apartment industry continues to move in this direction as well, much like the restaurant industry did several years ago. More and more residents want to live free from secondhand smoke and are willing to pay top dollar for it. Many newly built HRP communities are indeed smoke-free. Do you think this smoke-free direction will alienate our smoking residents or prospects? Or, do you think our prospective residents will follow suit and become more and more smoke-free themselves? Maybe the air is clearing soon.