Tobacco-Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition Receives Transform Wisconsin Grant

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 6:55am

Project Will Implement Proven Strategies to Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing in Dane County

The Tobacco-Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition today announced that they are receiving a Transform Wisconsin Impact Grant that will be used to increase the number of smoke-free apartments, townhouses and other multi-unit housing in Dane County.

"It really seems like now is a great time to start this conversation about smoke-free housing in Dane County," said Bev Jambois, Coalition Chair. "We're excited about providing greater access to smoke-free housing and showing property managers the incredible economic opportunity that going smoke-free provides."

The $160,000 grant is one of 30 Transform Wisconsin grants awarded today to communities around the state in an effort to create healthier places to live, work and play. $6.6 million will be invested over the next 26 months with the goal of creating healthier communities and reducing preventable chronic diseases. Transform Wisconsin is built on the idea that smoke-free air, fresh fruit and vegetables, and safe places to play should be available to everybody. Eight communities, including Dane County, are receiving Transform Wisconsin grant funding to promote smoke-free multi-unit housing.

Residents living in multi-unit housing that isn't smoke-free can be exposed to secondhand smoke through shared ventilation systems, as well as air leaks in ceilings, floors, and walls that allow smoke to travel through units.

"Offering smoke-free housing provides a strong market opportunity for property managers," said Ryan Sheahan, Coalition Coordinator, adding that "a recent study found that 72% of renters in buildings that allow smoking, but keep their own personal living quarters smoke-free, would prefer 100 percent non-smoking buildings".
In addition to attracting new residents, the policy also provides substantial savings. On average, it costs 2-3 times more to clean a unit that has been smoked in compared to one that hasn't. Smoke-free housing policies also lower the risk of property damage as smoking-related residential fires average more than $20,000 in loss per fire.

Finally, the group also shared that enacting smoke-free housing policies is already legal. Property managers can designate their entire property smoke-free, including apartment units and even outdoor spaces, if they so choose.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to create a healthier community," said Jambois. "It's also a chance for property managers to not only protect the health of their residents, but also save money and make their properties more profitable in the long run."

For more information on smoke-free housing, visit If you are a property manager looking to go smoke-free, contact the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition at (608) 242-6297.

The Transform Wisconsin project will directly reach over 2.6 million residents about half the state's population. All across the state, communities are building on local efforts to improve health by empowering individuals to make healthier choices and preventing chronic disease. Transform Wisconsin grants are administered by the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Services and funded by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant through the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

For more information on Transform Wisconsin grants and to sign up to volunteer for this project, please visit

For information about the Tobacco-Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition, see


Tobacco-Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition


  • Ryan Sheahan(608) 242-6297