Denmark - smokers being marginalized more and more..

July 31, 2009 - Second-hand smoke (secondhand, passive smoking, involuntary smoke, sidestream smoke, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS) seeping through walls has many housing associations considering creating smoke-free flats.

An increasing number of complaints by tenants over cigarette smoke from adjoining flats have resulted in housing companies considering how they can establish smoke-free complexes.

KAB, the country’s largest administrator of non-profit housing, already presented the idea back in December, and now Fredensborg Housing Association has put forth a fully completed plan for several non-smoking housing blocks.

However, implementing the no-smoking policy could face many obstacles – not least that associations may not discriminate against smokers.

The idea is popular in the US, where privately-owned flat complexes are common and smoking rules can be legally upheld. But most flats in Denmark are rented out through non-profit building associations via waiting lists, where people typically wait years before being offered a flat.

And in a time where availability is at an all-time high, most owners are pressed just to get their properties rented out. In addition, construction of new apartments has ground to a halt due to the low demand.

‘As it is today, we don’t have a law where we can refuse to rent to someone who won’t sign a statement saying they are a non-smoker,’ Finn Christensen, chairman of Fredensborg Housing Association’s board, told Politiken newspaper.

‘A totally smoke-free environment is entirely contingent on the tenants’ goodwill. And you can’t throw someone out because they’ve been smoking. So to implement an effective smoke-free environment there really has to be a law change,’ said Christensen.

Scientists at Aalborg University are conversely taking a back-door approach to the issue, working on developing better insulation for walls that can block the passage of cigarette fumes and odours from seeping into neighbouring flats.

The Danish Cancer Society indicates that children in particular are at risk of being harmed by passive smoke, even in relatively small doses from adjoining flats.

Reference" Smoke-free flats considered,The Copenhagern Post Online, 7/28/2009.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009.

Secondhand smoke is deadly. “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful. The only way to fully protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of secondhand smoke is through 100% smoke-free environments.” Surgeon General’s Report on Secondhand Smoke, issued June 27, 2006.

Secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by ventilation or air cleaning: On June 30, 2005, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) issued their latest position document on secondhand smoke. It states: “At present, the only means of effectively eliminating health risk associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”

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