Smoke infiltration in the home is a problem for many Victorians. Quit is frequently contacted by members of the public who are concerned about secondhand tobacco smoke entering their homes from neighbouring properties. Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home is not only unpleasant, it is also harmful to health.
As the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) continues to increase, Quit anticipates there will be increasing concern from members of the public about secondhand e-cigarette aerosol similarly entering their homes.
Unfortunately, the current laws concerning smoke infiltration in Victoria fail to adequately protect many Victorians from the harms of secondhand smoke exposure. More needs to be done to ensure all Victorians are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol in the home.
In particular, Quit and Cancer Council Victoria recommend the following actions be taken as a priority:
The Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) and the Model Rules be amended to ensure residents in single-level developments are afforded the same level of protection from the harms of smoke infiltration as residents of multi-level developments.
The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) be amended to clarify that smoke infiltration constitutes both a ‘nuisance’ and an interference with a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property.
Consideration be given to embedding cessation support into the routine support provided by housing providers and/or tenancy managers to social housing tenants, in order to encourage quit attempts and prevent failed tenancies for both smoking and non-smoking tenants.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) be amended to specifically state that smoke infiltration onto another property constitutes a ‘nuisance’.
For more information on our recommendations, read the Quit and Cancer Council Victoria position statement on smoke infiltration in residential settings.
For general information on how to address smoke infiltration in the home, read our information booklet.