Raleigh, N.C. — There are smoking bans at restaurants, parks and other public places, but apartment communities?
The Water Garden Village in northwest Raleigh is a new apartment complex where residents can live without ever dealing with second-hand smoke on the 11-acre property.
Housing experts say it's the beginning of a trend sweeping the country.
For landlords, it means a savings in clean-up costs of vacant apartments. For residents, it's taking healthy housing one step further.
"I absolutely love living here," said Joan Decker.
For Decker, living at Water Garden Village means having peace of mind.
"Suppose a person is smoking upstairs in bed (and falls asleep)," she said. "At my age, how fast can I run out of an apartment?"
Nonprofit DHIC developed the property. President Gregg Warren says the apartments were leased within nearly a month of opening.
"We were concerned that it might even limit our ability to rent the apartments," he said.
The healthy housing extends beyond the apartment walls to the fitness center, the clubhouse, the playground and even laundry facilities.
And of course, there is reason for residents to keep clean. It's called violating the lease.
"We would basically have three strikes and you're out," Warren said. "You've got to give people a little bit of an opportunity to correct their ways."
Patrick Eckstein quit smoking about the time he and his family moved to the community.
The smoke-free campus provided him with an incentive.
"Knowing that in the place where I live that I can't go out on my deck and smoke is the one thing that pushed me to say, 'Hey, I'm not going out in the freezing cold and walking down the street to smoke,'" Eckstein said. "It is nice knowing I can come here and get away from it and try to live a healthier life."
Water Garden Village is not alone. Another smoke-free community is still under construction in north Raleigh.
The Wilmont, on Hillsborough Street, opened two years ago and has been in high demand.