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Residential Buildings in Gilchrist County are Going Smoke-Free
Policies Protect Residents From Secondhand Smoke and Smoking-Related Fires
May 30, 2014

Bell, FL – Smoke-free multiunit housing, a growing trend throughout the country, has made its way to Bell, Florida.

A few residential properties in Gilchrist County have implemented smoke-free policies. The growing list of smoke-free properties in the area includes rental properties managed by Hometown Realty in Bell, Florida

“Lots of clients don’t want to consider living in a house that has been smoked in because of the major clean-up involved in removing the smell and residue,” said Natalie Rankin of Hometown Realty.  Hometown Realty manages tri-plex rentals, and rental homes located in the Rolling Hills subdivision.

“There’s a fear of alienating resident smokers, but most communities that have taken the leap consider smoke-free housing an edge over the competition and have determined that there is a market for this product" according to Chip Tatum, the former Government Affairs Director for the Florida Apartment Association.

Across the state, there are more than 500 smoke-free multiunit housing properties and 73,000 smoke-free units.

For property managers and landlords, smoke-free policies can have economic benefits. More than 80% of Floridians are non-smokers.  Many people who do smoke do not permit smoking in their homes.  Given these numbers, many properties have very successfully marketed their smoke-free policy as an amenity, not a restriction.   Smokefree policies can save money by eliminating the need to repair or replace carpeting, floors, fixtures, countertops or appliances damaged by burns or nicotine stains.  At the end of a lease, smoke-free units require less turnover time due to fewer preparation and repainting needs. 

Tobacco smoke can move along air ducts, through cracks in the walls and floors, through elevator shafts, and along plumbing and electrical lines affecting units that are nearby. Therefore, there are also numerous benefits for residents as tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 70 known to cause cancer. Exposure, even for short periods of time, can be dangerous.

“A home should be a safe place for everyone, especially for children, people with existing health conditions, and the elderly who are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Barry Hummel, co-founder of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation which manages the tobacco prevention program in Gilchrist County. “By making sure that residential buildings are 100 percent smoke-free, property managers are protecting tenants from the dangers of toxic smoke and from the risk of deadly smoking-related fires.”

CDC Infographic

The following are some of the reasons why it’s critical to protect tenants from exposure to secondhand smoke:

Secondhand smoke is not the only danger.  Smoking-related fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in residential buildings. These fires are eight times more likely to result in death than fires that start from another source. Smoking-related fires in residential buildings result in an average of approximately 365 deaths, 925 injuries, and $326 million in property loss each year.

For more information, visit For more information on local initiatives to promote smoke-free housing, contact Tracy Decubellis at