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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Cities Ban Smoking In Apartment Buildings

Helen Heinlo smokes outside of a coffee shop in Belmont, Calif., where smoking is banned in apartment buildings and condominium developments. The law also prohibits puffing on streets and sidewalks during public events and at outdoor workplaces. (AP/Paul Sakuma)

Smokers who live in apartment buildings in San Rafael, Calif., won’t be able to light up anymore – not even inside their own apartments.

Last week, the city council decided to follow nine other cities in California and vote unanimously to ban smoking in multi-family homes. The ordinance also prohibits smoking on downtown streets.

Tobacco control experts say it’s the wave of the future.

Guest:

  • Robert Proctor, professor of the history of science at Stanford University.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • J__o__h__n

    Boston should do this.  The smoke is not contained in the smoker’s apartment and goes into the hallways and more importantly other apartments.  Last year a smoker lived below me and it was awful.  My right to fresh air should be more important than the right to smoke.  I hope my landlord who refused to ban smoking in the building enjoyed paying for my heat when I had the windows open all winter. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Johnson/100001533026147 Bob Johnson

       You need to call the building inspectors. If the building complies with fire codes, this won’t happen.

      • rights too!

        Bob Johnson… you are so wrong! My building is only a few years old and 100% up to code yet still smoke goes through the smallest of areas around the elec. outlets, vent hoods, etc.  And once the smokers opens his door into a shared entry the smoke billows into the hallways and ends up in everyones apartment/condo.  We’ve spent $1,000+ sealing off all the areas we can and city says building is 100% code yet I now have been ill for the last 8 months due to this second hand smoke.  My Dr says its breaking down my immune system.  Is this fair I have no right to fresh clean air in my own home?  I had fresh air and was perfectly healthy until the smoker moved in next door and it only took a matter of weeks for the smoke to fill my home.  I have right too you know!

  • Apedersen568

    Smoke hell!  What about the risk of fire from smokers?  I live in an apartment and it is –Thank God! — smoke free.  There have been a dozen apartment house fires and those not caused by people not knowing what to do with charcoal after barbequing, it is linked to smoking and cigarettes.

  • Jeanvan71

    I can’t believe that this professor thinks that cigarette smoke sneaks through the walls and enters a neighboring apartment.  Please ask him what he thinks of a car idling in front of a supermarket with someone inside sitting in the A/C while shoppers walk by sucking in the exhaust.   Let’s get real and move on to some real air pollution.

    • J__o__h__n

      You walk by the car.  How am I supposed to avoid smoke while I’m sleeping in my own apartment?  And speaking of cars, if cigarette smoke is so great, why do smokers roll down the windows and stick the cigarette outside?

    • Vanessa D

      The smoke certainly does come through, at least through the vents. When  I was living in an apartment, at one point I had next-door neighbors who smoked and I could easily smell their smoke in my apartment. For someone who is highly sensitive to smoke this poses quite a problem.

      • Ncolen

        There are plenty of buildings that are in fact smoke free so perhaps instead of trying to regulate private property the reasonable thing to do might be find a building that suits your needs and let smokers find one that suits theirs. Just because you don’t like something or are allergic to something doesn’t mean it should be some one else’s concern.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Johnson/100001533026147 Bob Johnson

         California must have really shabby building codes. Most states don’t allow recirculated air in residential buildings. They don’t allow cooking odors, toilet odors, smoke, or fire to easily penetrate firewalls.

    • wake up people!

      Get educated Jeanvan71. Smoke  in time not only goes through a the walls but into the vent systems and everywhere. I know a smoker moved in next to me and I have concrete walls but now ill and needing medical care.  The smoke is not contained in the smoker’s apartment but goes into the hallways and more importantly other apartments.  And fact is, if a car is idling inside a garage joined to a home, people can and will die! And second hand smoke is the same.

  • Cycling Cigar

    While this is not directly concerning “apartment smoking”, it shows how far this subject can go. 
    Our local city park has a smoking ban within the park.  I was not aware of this ban, so while I was cooking on the park provided grill, using wood and charcoal, I was also smoking a cigar.  A park visitor came up and informed me about the smoking ban, while she was standing the a cloud of smoke coming from the grill.

    The way I now understand the subject is:
    Smoke is OK, but enjoying tobacco smoke is not ?????????????????

  • Helene

    Another silly reason that gives argument to the health insurance companies to reduce their duty. I would have appreciate scientific facts on the influence of smoking on air quality of neighboring apartments! No quantitative facts have been mentioned .
    And finally, what society do we want ? an sterilized suppressive society where physical beauty, strength and health is the reference or a freedom/diverse society ? The prize of this freedom is probably taking the risk of letting individuals make their own choice in the frame of reasonable laws. But isn’t  that freedom that made this country incredible ?  

  • David Weinstock

    I’m anti-smoking, but this ordinance has a serious economic justice problem. If you can afford one of San Rafael’s single-family homes — priced from $600,000 to $5,000,000, you may smoke; everyone else may not. I wonder how many of the city council are renters.

    • J__o__h__n

      Why don’t you worry about the poor people who have to breathe smoke?  Smokers can go outside to smoke.

    • KATDEN220

      I AM NOT A SMOKER. BUT I CAN SEE OUR AMERICAN RIGHTS BEING TAKEN AWAY. WE KNOW THAT SMOKE CAN KILL. BUT SO DOES TEXTING WHILE DRIVING… I SAY PUT A BAN ON CELL PHONES IN CARS!! LETS SEE HOW MANT MORE RIGHTS WE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. ABOSOLUTLEY RIDICOULOUS! ALSO IF YOU WANT A TOTALLY SMOKE FREE APARTMENT BUIILDING MAKE SURE YOU RENT ONLY TO NON-SMOKERS AND CHARGE THEM DOUBLE. iS THAT NOT THE AMERICAN WAY? BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SOMEONE TELLING ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT DO IN MY LIVING QUARTERS THAT I PAID FOR, I HAVE TO DRAW THE LINE AND SAY “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOW LIKE SHEEP? MY GOODNESS AMERICA…WAKE UP  AND SMELL THE COFFEE OR SHOULD I  SAY SMOKE! JUST WAIT SOMETHING ELSE WILL COME ALONG THAT WILL AFEECT THE NON-SMOKERS RIGHTS. I HOPE EVERY SMOKER REMEMBERS THEM AND THIER SNIVELING. FOR RIGHT NOW KEEP OFF YOU DAMN PHONES WHILE DRIVING. YOU ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO DRIVE AND TEXT. SMOKING IN YOUR CAR DOES NOT KILL OTHER PEOPLE!!!!

      • wake up people!

        Hey KATDEN220… why do only 1/2 the  people have rights?  What you’re saying is I have no right to fresh air? Your also saying because you don’t want to ban texting while diving that I have no rights to safe roads.  You want to have your rights and take mine away!  What really needs to happen is for everyone to be considerate of others instead of this “I can do whatever I want” attitude like you have.  What needs to happen is all building who allow smoker  post a sign at the door warning potential buyers or renters that they will be sharing living quarters w/smokers and take a risk of being exposed to the deadly toxins of second hand smoke.  A year 1/2 ago I bought a beautiful $370,000 condo, the management highly promoted all their healthy factors (walking paths, gyms, pool, etc) and the solid construction of their units. Never once do they mention I would be getting ill due to the smoker next door.  WHile you would might this I should know this, I fully believed if everything was up to code that smoking would not be a problem.  But I was wrong and now I’m quit ill from it.  not to mention family and friends who have severe asthma can’t even visit me now because a smoker is in our building. The smoker next door not only took my rights away but quality of life and the value of my condo.  Try for a minute to considers others and not just yourself… oh and in the meantime keep an eye out for all those texting and driving while they aren’t smart enough to do both and too selfish, like smoker to care!  Yep they have rights to right into you and kill you just like smokers have rights to slowing poison others.

    • Guest

      Buy a newer-model single-family manufactured home! (No, I’m not a realtor) as I did and enjoyed for many years before my current home. Very beautiful, spacious, and most importantly, your own separate home at a FAR lower price. There are gorgeous, luxurious m.h. communities available in many cities…we’re not talking “trailer parks” here!

    • MaiaW

      Look at it the other way around, David: If you’re poor enough not be able to own your own single-family home, you’re forced to put yourself in a position where you might have to live next to someone who is a smoker. FYI, Boston just became the largest city in the country to ban smoking in public housing for this very reason. http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/west_roxbury/2012/09/boston_set_to_become_largest_c.html

  • Ncolen

    The fact is this will affect low income and working class individuals the most and they allready have a hard enough time finding places to live. It’s time for the health police to just stop. Adults should be able to do anything they want in their own homes as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. Don’t try to say that second hand smoke through vents is dangerous because the fact is this fact has never been tested in a reasonable way. It’s time for people to stop using science as terrorism. If you sat in a garage whith the doors shut and your car running you would die within the hour to do the same with cigarets would take you months of nonstop smoking and yet I don’t hear a call for an end to indoor parking. Stop living in fear and just live. Also outlawing smoking will be as effective as the drug war or prohibition of alcohol meaning it won’t be in fact I would put money on an increase in teen smoking if it was attempted.

    • MaiaW

      RE: “Adults should be able to do anything they want in their own homes as long as they aren’t hurting anyone”: The Centers for Disease control has found that (and I quote from their website) “Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their lung cancer risk by 20–30%. Secondhand smoke exposure causes an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.” RE: “It’s time for people to stop using science as terrorism”: No offense, but…what rock are you living under? Science gives us wonderful things, including the device you’re reading this on. It also helps us understand things we can’t see with our eyes, like causes of disease. It’s hard to “stop living in fear and just live” when statistics show unequivocally that second-hand smoke is dangerous, especially to children. Lastly, to those who say “well, just don’t move in somewhere where there’s a smoker”…that’s easier said than done. When you’re looking for an apartment, you don’t always know if there’s a smoker. S/he may not be home or smoking when you’re checking the place out, and it’s not like you can knock on all the neighbors’ doors before you sign a lease or purchase agreement. Even if you could, you might not get anyone to talk about it.

      • Ncolen

        Firstly your talking about prolonged exposer to direct second hand smoke over the course of months and years if you are saying people shouldn’t smoke indoors who have children I fully agree however there is another problem with the study you are sighting, there are only tow ways to obtain said data one is unreliable because it relies on antics oral evidence I.E. this person worked around smokers and eventually got sick and any study that relies on such evidence isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. The second way to study this would be to pump smoke through a filter similar to a human lung into a poorly ventilated container with rats one group no exposer to smoke one slight exposer and a third would be nearly suffocated the nearly suffocated group is basically smoking on their own and there by completely throws off any average for the three groups and again the data needs to be scrapped as it proves nothing except direct contact with an inhuman amount of smoke is dangerous and we allready know that. I’m not saying I think people should be able to smoke in private businesses that don’t want them to or that parents should feel ok about smoking around their kids what I am saying is that the government has no place telling property and buisness owners what they can do and allow other consenting adults to do with in their own premises if you don’t want to live in a building that allows smoking, don’t. If you don’t want to give your patronage to a buisness or work for a buisness that allows smoking dont. But you have no right to tell others what they can and can’t do with their bodies on their property. There isn’t a freedom to be appeased promised in our constitution if there was we would have to appeas every group. Their goes the right or choose, there goes the hope of gay marriage there goes pet ownership and so on and so on. You do your thing and ill do mine but if you tell me how to live my crazier than the craziest bible thumper I’ve ever met.

    • imani

      You are simply a smoker who’s clearly got the “me” syndrome. To be ignorant enough 2 suggest smoke doesn’t travel…common sense shouldn’t need science to make u care abt others well being,scientifally proven or not. if u can make room for the possibility that it travels…why not accept the fact that a nonsmoker should not HAVE 2 SMELL IT?ITS AS MUCH THEIR RIGHT TO SMELL FRESH AIR AS IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO POLLUTE IT. THE DIFFERENCE IS you can’t separate the air! If there’s even a remote possibility of cancer or lung issues…then smoking should be banded in multi unit dwellings. Your right to risk your health does not trump my right to avoid the risk. If smoke can travel& air is a community source..you don’t have a right to change the quality of the common air supply as say “its a free country! I’m an adult.to heck with your rights!”. Its ignorance & pure selfishness on your part. You need a definitive report 2 respect other ppls rights? Real classy!

  • Smoke-free-gal

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    It is a miscalculated argument to think that this law
    discriminates against low-income people.  It in fact broadens the rights of low-income non-smokers who
    do not have the finances to purchase a home simply to escape a smoke filed
    atmosphere.  I am sure that many
    lower-income non-smokers are now thrilled that they and their children do not
    have suffer the repercussions of their neighbors’ second-hand smoke.

     

    One can much more easily change their smoking status than
    they can change their economic status. 
    In fact, those who save thousands of dollars a year by quitting smoking
    might even be able to save up for a down payment for a home over the long
    term.  And luckily, many programs
    cater to smoking cessation needs of lower income citizens providing free
    one-on-one quit counseling, and subsidize nicotine replacement. 

     

    There are far greater social injustices facing lower income
    Americans than not being able to smoke in their apartments.  Let’s rally against those instead and
    in the meanwhile, support the victory of non-smoking lower income people who
    have the greater freedom of cleaner air in their apartments. 

     

    Background info on me: Used to smoke in my teens and early
    20s. Was diagnosed with cancer at 27 (not related to smoking).  Since radiation treatment my lungs
    become horrifically inflamed when exposed to smoke.  I had no choice but to smell smoke in the apartments I lived
    in.  (Yes, smoke creeps through the
    walls in an apartment building, including those without central air handling
    systems.  Ever smell the fart-like
    boiled cabbage from the grandma cooking down the hall?  Well, the same happens with smoke.  Most smokers are so desensitized to
    smoke that they cannot tell the difference but the rest of us can.)  I now live in Philadelphia where row
    houses are abundant and I can rent one for the same price as an apartment.  I still have to keep all of my windows
    closed in my rental house because I live next door to a caregiving agency and their staff smokes
    outside my living room window all day. 
    However, if my windows are closed, I can be spared of the smoke.  The same was never true in the
    apartments I lived in.  If I could
    change my cancer status as easily as a smoker can quit smoking, I’d be a
    happier person.  I would also be so
    happy to return to being an apartment dweller but I don’t  see a great law like the one in San
    Rafael coming to my city any time soon.

     

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scottcarterwalsh Scott Carter Walsh

      “As easier as a smoker can quit?”  Haha, please don’t speak for everyone else dear, smoking is not “easy to quit.”

  • mike1243

      Just place a sign at the city limits declaring smokers not welcome.  Make selling cigarettes illegal and let another city make money off us.  That way I know to avoid your uptight little town. 

  • http://www.nicolitesonline.co.uk/ electronic cigarette

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Scottcarterwalsh Scott Carter Walsh

    News flash for everyone here…all of these “smoking facts” didn’t just pop up within the past few years.  If second hand smoke kills now guess what?  It killed 40 years ago when smoking was popular and nobody bad mouthed it.  All of a sudden now everyone wants to make a big fuss about it?  Get real and get a life!

  • No fresh air

    I’ve lived fairly comfortably in the same building for many years, yet in recent years, smokers began arriving.  The owners decided to tell them a while back, that though they were to not smoke in “common areas”, they are allowed to in the front and rear of the building and inside their units – though the only spot left out is the center of the building, which is not making a difference and believe me, the entire building has a stench.  Besides this, the building is rectangular, with entrance and exit driveways on either side, and I imagine the smokers are getting their last puff or beginning drags in while entering and exiting, which can go into other tenants windows along the driveways.  I am not even attached to any of the smokers units, the closest being two doors down.

    It has definitely worsened, with my unit having a stench at all hours of any day and feel I am unable to get fresh air.  When the air conditioning is on, I smell it, if I open up windows when it is cooler, I might get a little fresh air, especially if windy, but does not last and smell little bursts of cigarette odor.  Then, after closing up, there is apparently smoking during the wee hours, as I smell it increasing.  Whenever I return home, there is a stench. I also have Asthma and am allergic to smoke, besides.

    Though I have left a message with the supervisor at the management company, there has been no response to it.  I have looked into things I can do like using vinegar to absorb odor and trying to seal entry points,etc., but I am not even certain where all they are.  I would move if only I could do so, having particular needs besides a pet and would need a smoke-free building.  I feel I am losing my mind since I am home more these days and cannot get away from it, affecting my breathing and finding this becoming the focus and struggle of each day.

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