Smoke-Free Housing Public Policy in Minnesota
How Did We Get Here?
As more scientific data on the dangers of second and thirdhand smoke exposure in residential multi-unit housing becomes available, the need for strong smoke-free housing protections has become more clear. Multi-unit housing residents are demanding smoke-free housing and cities and counties are beginning to take action to protect their residents from exposure. This page contains background information, tools, and resources to help jurisdictions considering public policy actions. Please contact Live Smoke Free with questions.
A variety of policy options are available to jurisdictions wishing to protect residents from secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing. Contact Live Smoke Free to learn more about considerations and benefits of these different smoke-free housing policy approaches.
Many, but not all, municipalities require that rental properties be licensed through the city. This approach would create incentives (such as promotions or discounted fees) for a property to have a smoke-free policy. Jurisdictions can also Incentivize multi-unit residences to go smoke free by establishing a city or county fund to support implementation and maintenance or by adopting a municipal resolution or declaration.
A disclosure policy requires property owners to disclose to potential renters or prospective buyers the policy on smoking for the building, complex, and unit, and whether the policy is smoking permitted or smoking restricted.
This policy approach uses a city or county ordinance to require that multi-unit residential buildings have a smoke-free policy. This policy requires a thoughtful approach to minimize any unintended negative effects that could disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, people of color, and low-income residents. See below to learn more about an equity and housing stability-based model smoke-free housing ordinance.
Municipal Smoke-Free Housing Ordinances and Resolutions in Minnesota
- Saint Paul, Disclosure of Smoking Policies in Common Interest Communities
- Duluth, Disclosure of Smoking Policies in Rental Housing
- Richfield, Resolution Endorsing Smoke-Free Housing in the City of Richfield
Pictured left: The St. Paul City Council voted in 2021 to require the disclosure of smoking policies in common interest communities.
“Residents of Saint Paul condos demanded this change in policy, after being impacted by secondhand smoke in their own homes,” said Noecker, who authored the ordinance. “This policy provides buyers the information they need to make an informed decision about the home they purchase.”
Exploring Key Elements of an Equity-Focused Smokefree Multiunit Housing Model Ordinance
NEW TIME: May 25, 2023, 11am CST
Public Health Law Center staff, Rachel Callanan and Marisa Katz, will provide a 45-minute overview of key elements of the recently released Minnesota Smoke-free Multiunit Housing Model Ordinance. This comprehensive model builds on the Center’s experience working on previous iterations of a California model, years of experience in supporting communities and individuals with smoke-free housing policies, and an intensive three-year national stakeholder process described in our January 25, 2023 webinar.
Health equity requires that any policy that purports to protect health must address unintended negative effects that disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, people of color, low-income, and other priority populations. This model ordinance was constructed with the aim of protecting the health of all residents, while not jeopardizing residents’ housing stability.
- Rachel Callanan, JD, MNM, Lead Senior Staff Attorney
- Marisa Katz, JD, Staff Attorney
Equity in Smoke-Free Housing: How a Social Justice Approach Shaped a Model Smoke-Free Housing Ordinance
Presented on January 25, 2023
This 60 minute panel discussion features members of an Equitable Enforcement Advisory Committee who collaborated in a multi-year project to draft a new model ordinance for smoke-free multiunit housing. The group’s primary goal was to prioritize residents’ perspectives and promote housing stability. While committee members agreed that an ordinance would protect residents from second- and thirdhand smoke exposure, they were also concerned about potential unintended consequences of ordinance enforcement, including resident displacement or eviction, housing insecurity, and unfair discriminatory enforcement practices and impacts. This multidisciplinary panel will explore key decision points and share important lessons learned as the group balanced residents’ different needs while shaping a model smoke-free multiunit housing ordinance.
• Natasha Phelps, JD, Center for Black Health and Equity
• Michael Scott, Center for Black Health and Equity
• Bridgett Simmons, JD, National Housing Law Project
• Kara Skahen, MSW MPP, Association for Nonsmokers—Minnesota
• Kate Ebert, MPH CHES, City of Bloomington
Marisa Katz, JD, Public Health Law CenterView Recording
Resources and Fact Sheets
Sample: Incorporating Smoke-Free Housing in Local Comprehensive Planning – Dakota County, MN (2016)
Implementing and Enforcing a Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Ordinance: A Fact Sheet for Local Jurisdictions- Changelab Solutions.
Disclosure of Smoking Policies in Multi-Unit Housing – Public Health Law Center (2021)
Regulating Smoking in Multi-Unit Housing – Public Health Law Center (2021)
Webinar: Health Equity Through Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing – Public Health Law Center (2020)
Marijuana in Multi-Unit Residential Settings – Public Health Law Center (2019)
Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Enforcement Guide (CA) – Public Health Law Center (2022)
Minnesota Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Model Ordinance – Public Health Law Center (2023)
List of Currently Enacted Laws
U.S. Laws and Policies Restricting or Prohibiting Smoking Multi-Unit Housing – Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.Download PDF
Smoke-Free Policies and Resident Turnover: An Evaluation in Massachusetts Public Housing From 2009‒2018
Evaluating the Impact of a Citywide Smoke-Free Multiunit Housing Ordinance: Insights from Community Stakeholders- American Journal of Public Health.Visit Website
Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Ordinances: Lessons From California – Brynna Bargfield, MPP/MPH Candidate 2021, University of MinnesotaView Report