On the heels of their decision last fall to , Elk Grove city council members are wading into another area of potential tobacco-related controversy: whether residents should be allowed to light up in multi-unit apartment complexes.
Dozens of California cities and counties place some kind of restrictions on smoking in apartment buildings, according to the American Lung Association.
A crackdown in Elk Grove could reduce secondhand smoke exposure and fire risk, a city staff report says. Council members will discuss the report at their Wednesday meeting and could direct staff to start drafting an ordinance.
City leaders have a multitude of options: They could focus their efforts on subsidized housing—where residents are poorer and thus have less ability to simply move away from the smoke—or craft a law governing all apartment complexes. They could ban smoking in the apartments themselves, or stick to common areas like patios, balconies and playgrounds.
Not surprisingly, landlords say they'd prefer to have the free market sort it all out.
"We support an owner’s right to choose the policy that’s in the best interest of their particular property," Cory Koehler of the Sacramento Rental Housing Association told CBS 13.
Others argue that a ban would infringe on residents' rights—though a new state law explicitly gives landlords the right to prohibit smoking inside units, as long as they notify tenants of the change in policy.
Readers, what do you think? Is this a smart way to protect renters' health, or does it go too far?