Thousands of Dane County Residents now Live in Smoke-free Apartments

Friday, October 3, 2014 - 1:52pm

Clear Gains Initiative Promotes Voluntary Landlord Participation and Healthier Options for Renters

Wingra Point is a new multi-unit apartment development south of the U.W. campus that opened its doors to new residents offering them living spaces free from the risk of tobacco smoke coming from neighboring apartments It is the 17th property in Dane County to go smoke-free with the help of Clear Gains, the statewide initiative that promotes both the business and health benefits of smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing and also provides resources to help landlords and developers through the process of making both new and existing residential properties smoke-free.
In the past two years, the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition (TFCDC) has helped property owners and managers implement smoke-free policies in over 2,500 units.
The success of these efforts can be attributed to not only the health benefits of implementing such policies, but the economic benefits for the landlord, as well as an overwhelming consumer preference for smoke-free living environments. Specific examples include:

  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30% and heart disease by 25 to 30%.
  •  Cleaning costs for landlords when a tenant moves out are about $770 lower for smoke-free units. This amounts to a total savings of over $1,925,000 for Dane County property managers; although some landlords estimate that the savings may be even greater.   
  • Fire safety - In Madison, there were a total of five deaths and 16 injuries as a result of smoking related fires (2005-2011). During this period, 130 smoking-related fires were reported with 88% of all property losses occurring in multi-unit properties.  Smoke-free properties do not run this risk.
  • Surveys show that 72% of renters want to live in a smoke-free environment 

Participation in Clear Gains is completely voluntary.  Property managers receive toolkits with sample policy language, addendum lease language and other helpful templates that help make the process easy to implement. In addition, property managers can receive free metal smoke-free signage showing the property´s smoke-free policy that they can post as a marketable point of pride and distinction.
TFCDC outreach specialist Nina Gregerson “encourages all property managers to consider making the switch to smoke-free.  It is a legal, safer, healthier, popular and profitable choice.”
She adds “No one should have to choose between their health and their home.  Smoke-free living helps protect the health of renters and saves property managers money.  The Clear Gains program offers gains for everyone.” 
For more information on the Clear Gains initiative in Dane County, contact TFCDC Outreach Specialist Nina Gregerson at (608) 243-0434 or via email at
                                                                                 Distributed on behalf of the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition


  • Ryan Sheahan(608) 242-6297
  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302
Health & Safety