Image: Councilmember Rebecca Noecker gives a shout out to Live Smoke Free’s Kara Skahen and Jeanne Weigum for their work on an ordinance to require a smoking policy disclosure before the sale of a unit in a common interest community.

Saint Paul to require smoking disclosure

City Council takes first step to help protect condo owners


Saint Paul – The Saint Paul City Council took a step in protecting residents from exposure to secondhand tobacco
smoke when it voted unanimously on Wednesday to require disclosure by sellers of condo units and townhomes of
their homeowners associations’ smoking policies upon listing for sale.

This ordinance arose from the advocacy of downtown condo owners who were dismayed by secondhand smoke in
their homes, feeling it was having a negative impact on their health and quality of life.

“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.”

The purpose of the disclosure is to empower homebuyers with knowledge about the air quality of potential future
homes. Homebuyers should have the freedom to choose a home free from health hazards, including second and
thirdhand tobacco smoke.

“This ordinance is a great step toward providing residents cleaner indoor air quality in Saint Paul,” said Kara Skahen,
director for Live Smoke Fee, a program of the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota. “All residents of multi-unit
housing deserve to have complete information and choose a home that is healthy and safe for their family.”

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer in humans. Smoke
easily seeps into neighboring units and poses a serious health risk to other residents. Smoking in multi-unit housing is
also a significant fire risk and can lead to decreased property values.

“In my experience, condo units that have smoke damage from cigarette smoking have a far smaller buyer pool,
meaning very few people will even consider purchasing a unit that smells like smoke,” said Amy Ruzik, a realtor with
the NoPlaceLikeHome Team at RE/MAX Results.”

Condos can go even further to help protect residents, health-wise and financially.

“Having a smoke-free policy will lead to healthier, cleaner and safer living and can help owners protect their
investment.” Ruzik said. “It is certainly in the interest of someone looking to purchase a unit in a multi-unit building to
know whether the building allows smoking, so they can make an informed choice about their health, as well as that of
their children.”


Read more coverage in the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune.

This FAQ from Councilmember Noecker’s office provides additional information.

For information and resources for smoke-free common interest communities, click here.