07/12/2011 04:35 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2011

Chicago Anti-Smoking Group Awards Grants To Apartment Buildings Going Smoke-Free

After calling for increased smoke-free housing options in the city, the Chicago Tobacco Prevention Project has awarded grants to several housing groups that have answered that call.

According to an AP report, the project recently awarded grants totaling thousands of dollars to groups including Cultural Affairs, Lakeside Community Development Corp. and Claretian Associates, with more grant announcements coming down the pike in September.

When the program, the Piloting and Promoting Smoke-free Homes initiative, was announced in May, the goal was to encourage property managers to convert their buildings into smoke-free environments by offering grants of up to $10,000 as an incentive.

The program is overseen by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, which contends that between 35 and 60 percent of the air within an apartment building is shared air that comes from both other units as well as common areas. If even one person in your building smokes within the building, each of the building's tenants are likely taking in secondhand smoke.

As the Chicago Tribune reported last fall, according to a survey conducted by the Chicago Tobacco Prevent Project, about one-third of all Chicago renters said they would be willing to pay more to live in a smoke-free building.

Earlier this year, the Lake County Housing Authority instituted a ban on smoking in the public housing they oversee, as the Tribune reported. The Chicago Housing Authority has also taken limited steps toward creating smoke-free environments in recent years.