In spite of a healthy U.S. housing market, real estate brokers have had more difficulty finding buyers for homes and condominiums that smell strongly of tobacco smoke, according to a Feb. 8, 2004, article in the New York Times. The American Lung Association, which has been warning people of the health risks of tobacco for more than 50 years, has heard of this secondary financial risk of smoking before.

“Potential home buyers may not always be able to articulate exactly what a ‘healthy’ house is, but they know an unhealthy environment when they smell it,” said Angie Lien, national director of the American Lung Association Health House program, the nonprofit’s indoor air quality program. “Our program has received more attention in real estate trade publications in recent years than anytime during its 10-year existence. While some of this can be attributed to heightened public concerns about mold, I believe there is a greater overall public awareness of indoor air problems in our homes, and the beginnings of a class of better informed, health-conscious home buyers.”

Stephen R. Klossner, a building consultant in Afton, Minn., with more than 20 years of experience in the indoor air quality field, is not surprised by the New York Times article’s conclusions. “Even smokers are turned off by the smell of secondhand smoke when they are looking for a new home,” he noted. “Just ask anyone in the smoke and fire cleaning business – nothing sticks to carpet, walls and furniture like smoke.”

Klossner, a consultant with the American Lung Association Health House program, notes the recent wave of “killer mold” stories in the news media with some irony. “The hard data linking human exposure to mold with serious health risks just isn’t there – still, mold gets all the attention,” he said. “Secondhand tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 200 of which are known poisons, and more than 50 of these are known cancer-causing agents. You tell me which one you would rather have in your house.”

The American Lung Association Health House program offers a variety of consumer tip sheets and workbooks. In addition to tip sheets on secondhand smoke, the site also has useful information on radon, mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), furnace filters, cleaning products and other issues pertaining to indoor air in the home.

***

Send a Letter to the Editor for publication.
Send a comment or news tip to our newsroom.
Please include the headline of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription