Regional Tobacco Coordinator,
Healthy Aroostook, ACAP
FORT FAIRFIELD – Fort Fairfield Housing Authority adopted a smoke-free policy July 1, 2008. Like 17 housing authorities and nearly 40 percent of the private multi-unit housing market in Maine, Fort Fairfield Housing Authority recognizes both the health and financial benefits of managing a smoke-free complex. Smoke-free housing is about the smoke, not the smoker. A smoke-free policy does not require people to quit smoking; it creates an environment that is more conducive to living smoke-free. Surveys show that 78 percent of tenants – both smokers and non-smokers – want to live in a smoke-free apartment, and in Maine, where people are used to “taking it outside,” policy adoption signifies an acknowledgement of this demand.
Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which cause cancer. We are protected from these deadly toxins in most places – public places, workplaces, restaurants, bars – however, many are still being exposed where they spend 70 percent of their time: the home.
Adopting a smoke-free policy not only protects residents from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke, but preserves the integrity of the property, reduces maintenance costs and eliminates the leading cause of home fire deaths.
Fort Fairfield Housing Authority’s smoke-free policy has helped protect people in transitional and permanent housing by creating a healthy home environment for people already looking to improve their well-being. It has also provided a safe work environment for agency employees. As a result of the tobacco-free policy being implemented, there have not been any complaints or residents who moved out.
The implications of this policy will be broad reaching and serve as an example to similar housing operations. If you would like more information on Fort Fairfield public housing, contact Paige Cole at 476-5771.