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Do E-Cigarettes Count? Enforcing No Smoking Policies in Rental Properties

E-Cigarettes? What Carroll Co Property Management Companies Say!

 

E-cigarettes are a trend that shows no signs of going away. Nearly 1 in 20 adults use e-cigarettes. Of those, more than half are under the age of 35. This demographic falls directly in line with those in the Hampstead rental market. As a landlord, should you accept e-cigarettes in your non-smoking unit? See what Carroll Co Property Management Companies are doing to combat this growing trend.

Should E-Cigarettes be Allowed in Your Non-Smoking Property?

To help answer this question, we will delve into common issues surrounding e-cigarettes below. With facts in hand, you decide whether or not to allow this alternative method of smoking in your rental property.

What are Electronic Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes use water vapor mixed with nicotine, flavorings, and other unregulated chemicals in a battery-operated device. The battery activates a heating coil that boils the nicotine solution that you inhale as steam. E-cigarettes do use nicotine, much like a traditional cigarette. However, they differ in that they do not use tobacco and, therefore, do not burn.

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Traditional Cigarettes?

Opinions vary; however, many smokers view using e-cigarettes as not smoking. Furthermore, the view the emitted vapor as not being second-hand smoke and less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Due to this, many Carroll County tenants feel that banning the use of e-cigarettes in rental properties is unreasonable.

That said, information regarding the health risks of vaping with e-cigarettes is still sparse. Generally speaking, they do not contain cancer-causing tobacco but do contain other potentially harmful chemicals. Traditional smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of sickness in the US, with over 400,000 deaths occurring each year due to smoking.

Do E-Cigarettes Damage Property?

If you currently have a Hampstead rental property and are considering whether to allow electronic cigarettes in your otherwise non-smoking property, it is essential to understand what kind of physical damage e-cigarettes can cause.

  • Residue Build-up: A big complaint regarding smoking is the lingering odor and residue left behind by second-hand smoke. E-cigarettes cause far less residue, but the added cleaning that may be required is still a consideration for the landlord.
  • Fire Hazzard: E-cigarettes do not have the same flame as a traditional cigarette, but they are still a hazard. They have a combustible liquid electrolyte. This can ignite if the battery overheats, causing it to rupture and explode. According to the US Fire Administration, between 2009 and 2016, 195 incidents of e-cigarette explosion and fire were reported. Consequently, these incidents resulted in 133 acute injuries.

What Does Maryland Law Say on E-Cigarettes

As of October 1, 2019, the minimum age for all tobacco products in Maryland is 21. This includes sales of all e-cigarettes. That said, there is very little data regarding the use of e-cigarettes in rental properties. So, it is up to landlords to decide whether to make their Hampstead or Carroll County rental properties 100% smoke-free or not.

Common Reasons for NOT Allowing E-Cigarettes in Your Rental

  • Difficult to Monitor. If you prohibit traditional cigarette smoking, yet allow the use of e-cigarettes, many problems can arise based on looks alone.  Since many e-cigarettes look precisely like a conventional cigarette, how can you possibly plan to monitor this?
  • Damage Concerns. Sure, those using e-cigarettes will claim that there is no smell, no residue is left (or that it is easily cleaned up), and that the chances of damage to your rental property are slim.  But, there have been no long term studies determining this to be accurate, and unfortunately, your Maryland property may suffer in the long run because of this.
  • Public Perception. Many individuals who do not like to be around traditional cigarette smoking also prefer to avoid being around e-cigarette use as well.  This is something to consider when it comes to attracting potential tenants carefully.  If you allow e-cigarettes in your rental property, even if you prohibit traditional cigarette smoking, some qualified tenants may be turned off from also considering your property as a possible rental home for their family.

 

In the end, whether you decide to allow e-cigarette use in your rental property or not, you must draft a solid and explicit lease agreement outlining your final decisions. The language should be clear about what is allowed and what is not, as well as the potential consequences for failing to abide by the lease terms. Looking for Carroll Co Property Management Companies to help manage your rental property? Contact Bay Property Management Group Carroll County, where we take the guesswork out of being a landlord!