Non-Smoking Apartment Buildings on the Rise

Apartment renters now have the option of living smoke-free in many cities. In Pasadena, the 480 newly constructed units at the Westgate Apartments are designated non-smoking.

When the complex developed by the Sares-Regis Group is completed in early 2011, there will be no smoking allowed inside apartments or in its common areas: good news for those looking for a healthy, smoke-free environment. Tenants benefit from cleaner air and no concerns with secondhand-smoke from other renters or their visitors.

Although New York City came later to smoking bans in bars and restaurants than California, in early 2010 the city's first residential non-smoking building opened at 1510 Lexington Ave.

"There is a growing awareness of health hazards of second-hand tobacco smoke as it drifts through units, through floors and even through plumbing and electrical conduits," says Esther Schiller, executive director of the non-profit organization Smokefree Air for Everyone. More apartment renters nationwide are searching for non-smoking apartment buildings and health is their number one concern, says Schiller. (Approximately 20 percent of U.S. adults are smokers.)

Smoke-free apartment buildings like the Westgate are also another way to live green, says Zoe Solsby, a spokesperson for Sares-Regis Group. "It's becoming more and more popular," says Solsby of the environmentally sensitive option for renters. But are the benefits real for renters in a non-smoking building?