Local group encouraging apartment complexes to ban smoking

Posted at 2:16 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 06:25:04-04

The Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance is pushing for apartment complexes to ban smoking.

Ydaly Pullara admits it was hard to kick this habit.

"Off and on for about a total of 20 years," Pullara says.

According to the Florida Apartment Association, 83.2% of adults do not smoke and 4 out of 5 people want to live where it's smoke-free.

"There's a huge cultural shift, it's starting to be the norm," said Elizabeth Bublitz, with the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance.

The group goes to apartment complexes, educating on the dangers of second hand smoke and working with property managers to slowly transition into a smoke free environment. Plus it helps smokers quit for free.

"Our biggest goal is to not attack the smoker but to attack the smoke itself," said Bublitz. "We want to let the residents of the community know that secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals Two hundred fifty of them are toxic. And out of those 250, seventy of them are actual cancer causing agents are carcinogens."

"If it starts where you live then you get acclimated to that," said Pullara, who says she still thinks it should be the tenants choice.

The Florida Apartment Association says cleaning up after a smoker is expensive. The cost to clean a smoke-free two bedroom apartment is about $570. A smoker's apartment costs more than $4,000.

There are three different certification levels with the FAA:

  • Gold - Smoking is prohibited throughout the community.
  • Silver - Smoking is prohibited indoors and within 25 feet of buildings.
  • Blue - Smoking is banned inside apartments and indoor common areas. 

At least six complexes in the Tampa Bay area are certified including: Echo Lake at Lakewood Ranch in Bradenton; CitySide Apartments and Overture at Grand Oaks in Sarasota; Azure in St. Petersburg; Grady Square Apartments in Tampa; and Retreat at Trinity in Trinity.

"Everyone has the right to clean air, truly and it shouldn't be something that someone has to fight for," said Bublitz.