OGDEN -- The elderly residents at the Danville Development Corp. properties will no longer have to deal with secondhand smoke.
Residents are no longer allowed to smoke anywhere in the building, even in their own apartments. Instead, each property has built or will build a covered outdoor smoking area. The cost of each structure varies on location, but it costs several thousand dollars for each property.
"We're doing it for the health of our residents," said Lisa Jones, president of Danville Development Corp. "All of our residents are seniors."
She said some residents are struggling with the change but their health is obviously much better.
The company has been moving toward a smoke-free environment at its properties for a while, as they house seniors and people with disabilities.
According to Danville officials, it is reasonable to assume that these residents are some of the most frail people in the community and, therefore, are the most at-risk when it comes to the health complications from secondhand smoke. Many of the residents have respiratory ailments and are on oxygen.
For a while, new residents moving into the properties were not allowed to smoke, but previous residents were still allowed to do so under a grandfather clause.
Yet the property management firm said drifting smoke was still a problem for other tenants. Anna Guymon, with Weber-Morgan Health Department's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, said they had received complaints from residents of secondhand smoke in the buildings.
Jones said it is very difficult to contain cigarette smoke, as it goes through heating ducts and through windows.
Only about 10 to 15 percent of residents smoke, but one heavy smoker can fill an entire floor with secondhand smoke. The health department did a survey to see what residents thought about banning smoking altogether, and most responded favorably.
"I think it's a really good move for the health of the residents," Guymon said.
Washington Manor in downtown Salt Lake City was the first Danville property to go completely smoke-free. In Ogden, the new rule went into effect Nov. 1 at Golden Links Manor, 1132 24th St., Union Gardens at 468 3rd St., Three Links Tower at 2427 Jefferson Ave. and Fellowship Manor, 2334 Monroe Blvd.
The efforts have been recognized by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Utah with an award presentation at Golden Links Manor on Nov. 30.
Danville Development now has 16 smoke-free apartment complexes and group homes.
Along with eliminating smoking indoors, Danville officials are promoting smoking-cessation efforts among their residents.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is working with each of the communities to offer technical assistance through education on the health effects of secondhand smoke, quit-smoking kits and education on free quitting resources.