In connection with HUD celebrating National Healthy Homes Month in June, Rural Neighborhoods is undertaking a related initiative aimed at improving air quality for residents. Timber Ridge at Sanders Pines Reserve is becoming a smoke-free property to provide a safer, healthier environment for residents and their guests. The change will be phased in over the next eight months. Non-smoking tenants will sign non-smoking lease addendums as they move into newly renovated units at the complex. For those who currently smoke, they will have until January 1, 2018, to either stop smoking, or at a minimum, refrain from smoking inside their unit.
In making the change, Rural Neighborhoods President, Steven Kirk, considered three important points:
- Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard. Reports from the Surgeon General state that secondhand smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer. As a result, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Research has shown that secondhand smoke travels from unit to unit, seeping through electrical outlets, heating and duct work, and structural gaps. The only effective way to completely stop the spread of secondhand smoke is through a smoke-free policy.
- The U.S. Fire Administration found that smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
Although only a small percentage of its tenants smoke now, Rural Neighborhoods hopes to improve the air quality and safety of its residents by taking this step. Tobacco Free Collier has been an integral partner and will assist Rural Neighborhoods as it expands the policy over the next two years to its other properties in Immokalee including Hatchers Preserve, Eden Gardens, Main Street Village, and Esperanza Place. Adoption of the smoke-free policy follows similar efforts underway by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which is encouraging public housing authorities to make their units smoke-free.