Smoking is being banned in nearly a quarter of the units in what developers call the state’s largest private apartment complex. Nine of the 40 buildings in the Sun Prairie apartment complex in West Des Moines have been declared smoke-free zones.
Kerry Wise of the American Lung Association says she knows of only one other private apartment complex in the state where smoking has been banned inside the apartments. It’s a 30-unit complex in Cedar Falls.
"In Iowa we’ve had an increased number of calls to our office from tenants specifically asking, ‘What are the options for me for smoke-free housing?’ and we’re starting the process of education with owners and managers," she says, "and they’re starting to see the benefits, not only health wise but bottom-line wise." Iowa’s Smoke-Free Air Act took effect July 1st of last year, banning smoking in public places. However, it did not ban smoking in private residences, like apartments.
"The difference that we’ve seen in Iowa from a year ago to now is monumental," Wise says. "We’ve seen a huge increase of individuals who have asked or are interested in quitting and then we’ve seen businesses and apartment complex owners who are open to the possibility of making and having these discussions where they weren’t a year ago."
The Sun Prairie apartment complex in West Des Moines has 1,100 units and smoking is now banned in about a quarter of those apartments. A survey found three-quarters of the tenants in the complex wanted smoking banned inside apartments and on the wooden decks attached to the units.