Smoke Free Living

Breathe actively works to protect Sacramento area residents from secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, on community college campuses and on the street by implementing policies to protect healthy lungs.

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes out a smoker’s mouth, or off of their tobacco product they are smoking. Exposure to secondhand smoke kills over 40,000 people in the United States every year who have never smoked. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke – even short-term exposure can trigger a heart attack, while longer term exposure causes lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. In children and babies, secondhand smoke exposure can cause sudden infant death syndrome, lung problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks.

Those who live in multi-unit housing are especially at risk for exposure to secondhand smoke. About 58 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing, and it is the main place where children are exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can travel through windows, doorways, cracks in walls, electrical lines, ventilation systems, plumbing and more. The only way to fully protect non-smokers from the harmful and potentially deadly health effects of secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites, and public places. Opening windows, using fans, separate air conditioning systems, separate ventilation systems, or other attempts to separate or cleanse air are not effective.

Breathe actively works to protect Sacramento area residents from secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing. We maintain a website,, that lists apartment complexes and their smoke-free policies, so that prospective renters can be informed about what level of protection from secondhand smoke they would have if they live at the property. In addition to proposing and advocating for municipal level policies in cities within the Sacramento region, we also provide education to the property management community on how they can improve their properties’ policies to best protect the health of their residents.

For more information on the work we do in multi-unit housing policies, please contact Program Manager Marissa Greenband, MPH, CHES at [email protected].