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Cobleskill’s Elm Street Apartments Latest to Go Smoke-free

A coalition of affordable housing advocates from New York State may soon launch a campaign encouraging Governor Andrew Cuomo to pass stronger rent laws and to develop additional affordable housing. Around the topic of housing advocacy, an increasing number of multi-unit housing owners and managers are protecting their tenants’ health and their investment by adopting smoke-free policies for their properties.  Property owners have gone smoke-free in order to lower maintenance costs and improve value retention, make units easier to rent or sell, reduce fire risk and insurance premiums and lessen tenant conflicts due to secondhand smoke.

A local example of smoke-free policy adoption is Loder Properties’ apartments at 203 Elm Street in Cobleskill. These twelve apartments are the latest of the Loder managed multi-unit housing properties in Cobleskill to address the issue of secondhand smoke for both tenants and property owner.

Kim Prest, property manager at Early Woodland Apartments among other Loder properties stated, “Adopting a smoke-free policy is easier than you think. The policy for the Elm Street apartments became effective this fall. Smoke-free housing improves the indoor air quality for all residents. Sixty-five percent of indoor air is shared among units in multi-unit dwellings. We have seen great improvements in the buildings where smoke-free policies have been implemented.”

Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure.”

“Living in smoke-free housing should not be a luxury. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air,” said Deyanira Cisneros, Community Engagement Coordinator for Advancing Tobacco Free Communities in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties (ATFC-DOS). “We were pleased to work with Loder Properties to develop policies to improve the health of apartment dwellers and provide signage to educate tenants and visitors.”

ATFC-DOS provides guidance to multi-unit property owners and managers about implementing smoke-free housing policies. ATFC-DOS can conduct tenant’s surveys, provide policy development and compliance techniques, implement educational sessions for residents, link smokers to quit resources and supply a limited amount of signage at no cost to property owners and managers. Individuals in Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties wanting to protect their bottom line by ensuring property cleanliness and the safety and health of tenants and staff may contact ATFC-DOS at 518-255-5395 or

In Schoharie County, the current smoking rate is 19.3 percent as compared to New York State’s rate of 14.2 percent.  Secondhand smoke exposure is higher among people with low incomes and low educational levels. More than two out of every five (43.2%) nonsmokers who lived below the poverty level were exposed to secondhand smoke in 2011-2012 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Seven thousand chemical compounds, 250 of which are harmful, are in secondhand smoke. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths each year. Secondhand smoke exposure is the leading cause of respiratory illnesses in both children and adults. CDC further states, in children, secondhand smoke causes ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath), respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia), and greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  In adults, even those who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.