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More Sanders Co. rental properties are smoke-free

| June 23, 2021 12:00 AM

Editor:

During June, which is National Healthy Homes Month, I would like to commend three local entities for providing housing that is healthier, safer and cleaner because they are going tobacco-free.

A few years ago, Sanders County Community Housing Organization (SCCHO) adopted a smoke-free, tobacco-free policy for their duplexes in Plains. Tobacco use is not allowed in the housing units, as well as on the properties.

This limits the exposure of other tenants to the harmful chemicals in secondhand and thirdhand commercial tobacco smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to the by-products of smoking.

SCCHO property manager Jim Jacobson said there has been very good compliance to this policy. Several tenants have thanked him for the “nudge” the new policy gave them – to quit their tobacco habits!

Effective June 1, Saleesh House and Mountain House apartments in Thompson Falls are the first of several multi-unit housing facilities in Sanders County managed by Bennett Realty, to reinforce their policy of no tobacco use in the buildings. For those who continue to use tobacco, they will be permitted to use it solely in a designated area on the properties.

Additional rental facilities also managed by Bennett, in Trout Creek and Plains, will soon follow suit with this same policy reinforcement.

On July 1, Thompson Falls Lions Manor in Thompson Falls will also prohibit tobacco use of any kind, again, to reduce health risks for residents and guests. This will also prevent property damage, and improve safety.

As property owners know, damage from smoking, including burnt countertops, stained walls and damaged carpet and draperies, is expensive to address and can make units less attractive to new renters. Maintenance costs can be two to seven times greater when smoking is allowed, compared to a smoke-free unit.

Smoking in buildings increases the risk of fire. An estimated 7,600 smoking-related fires occur in residential buildings each year in this country. Smoking-caused fires are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the U.S.

Owners and managers can visit tobaccofree.mt.gov for free help and resources, including smoke-free, tobacco-free signs.

As Sanders County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, I can be reached at 827-6901, to assist with making multi-unit rental and investment properties smoke-free. Smoke-free is an investment in the community’s health.

For free help to quit tobacco, check out the excellent program offered in out state, the Montana Tobacco Quit Line, at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Sandra Gubel

Sanders County Tobacco Prevention Specialist