Prepare for a Change

Checklist on Preparation

Download or print this checklist for the steps you'll need for preparing for your smoke-free policy.

Sample Time Table

Once a housing management company, authority or organization has decided to adopt a smoke-free policy for its residential properties, the next step is to develop a policy implementation plan. The Time Table below describes a step-by-step guide for the 12 months prior to putting the policy into effect. There is no one way to implement a smoke-free policy. The time table and steps can be easily modified to address the specific goals and objectives of the user.

Engage your Residents

We advise giving your residents a short survey to get their feedback on the topic of smoke-free policies. You may also decide to hold a resident meeting to discuss the issue. We have provided a sample tenant survey and cover letter. These are Word documents that you may customize with information about your property.

Note: MS Word files may require you to right-click and select "Save as" to download.

Consider Your Policy Options

Will you have a 100 percent smoke-free campus? Will you ban smoking within some number of feet from the building? Will you create designated outdoor smoking areas that are accessible to persons with disabilities? If you create designated areas, make sure they are in places that will keep smoke away from non-smoking residents. Your decision will be influenced by the layout of your property, your budget, and the input of your residents.

Will you "grandfather" existing smoking residents? Experienced property managers recommend against "grandfathering" due to the potential for confusion in enforcement and resentment among residents.

Provide Plenty of Advance Notice

Review applicable state laws and your lease agreement to determine how much notice to provide. Consider giving at least several months' notice to allow residents a chance to adjust to the new policy. Below, find a sample letter to send to residents, notifying them of the change in policy.

Note: MS Word files may require you to right-click and select "Save as" to download.

Educate Residents and Staff

Organize both staff and resident meetings to discuss the upcoming policy change, answer questions, and allow people a chance to voice their support or concerns. Explain why smoke-free policies are important to protect the health and safety of all residents. Provide information about smoking cessation resources, especially the North Carolina Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Your local health department may be able to help provide you with materials and assistance to educate residents.

The two-sided flyers below are in Microsoft Publisher and were created so you can add your logo, contact information or other specifics about your policy so you can educate your residents on an upcoming smoke-free policy. You can even add photos of your residents with quotations, or use the ones we provide. They include policy and tobacco cessation information.


NCDHHS, Division of Public Health