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POLL: Should City Ban Smoking in Apartment Complexes?

City council to consider the idea at its Wednesday meeting.

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?

Matt Zukowski April 02, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Oddly enough Maynard, as a former smoker, I'm more likely to notice smoke coming in from outside than in. Thankfully the whole business of "third hand smoke" asserting what happens when the "smoke settles" provides solid evidence that that the smoke does settle. If your complex has air gaps to the level that second hand smoke is actually an issue, measurable beyond outside pollutants, then the second hand smoke is the least of your worries. An air gap alone would lower your energy cost and reduce your dependence on coal, which claims more lives than the worst second hand smoke estimate. "The point is that, without any legitimate authority, the smokers ARE regulating life NEGATIVELY for countless OTHER smokers " This is an appeal to rights that don't exist. You presume no one has the right to have a negative impact on someone else's life, which is unfortunately not true. As would smoking a salmon, using a fire place, or using a grill outside, but these activities present a GREATER risk than second hand smoke, in volume and toxicology. I can burn candles in an apartment, yet candles have an objective impact on air quality. They are unregulated, produce smoke, and paraffin specifically poses a moderate health risk, HMIS 2. But you'd likely say they don't cause cancer, but incense has been observed to. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18726993
Matt Zukowski April 02, 2012 at 05:26 AM
"Let them go outside, or let them do the right thing by themselves and QUIT smoking altogether.." Here's the rub, smoking bans have no statistical impact on the number of lifelong smokers. I'm all for giving smokers the resources to abandon smoking. I support cold turkey, counseling with NRPs, long term use of NRPs, e-cigarettes, or other smokeless options like Snus or new dissolvable products. Tax smokers, use that money for dwelling improvements like patching the air gaps where pepole complain about second hand smoke. The energy savings would have a bigger impact on air quality state wide than 25% of the population giving up their 20gram/day habit.
joyce best April 02, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Do these people that worry about a wisp of cigarette smoke keep all their doors and windows closed ? Do they ever leave their airtight apartments and venture near a road ? Do traffic fumes not bother them ? Or is it that they just hate smokers and want to make their lives as miserable as their own ?
Smokers Tees April 03, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Tobacco is a leaf. Tobacco smoke contains the same chemicals approximately as the smoke of all burning organic materials such as trees, brush, leaves and plants. Nicotine is the only chemical found in tobacco leaves/smoke not found in other burning organic materials. It is as matter of fact the marker used in testing to identify the presence of tobacco smoke. Nicotine is not lethal, I invite you to google the subject or visit Forces.org, click the link called "The Evidence". The following link is from the American Cancer Society and states that there is no evidence for any dangerous substances at unsafe levels in tobacco smoke. First they came for the smokes and no one took a stand. Now they are going after those who consume salt, sugar, fat, red meat and an endless list of "unsafe" products. All for your own good of course. Be very careful of what you wish for, you just could get it.
Smokers Tees April 03, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Whoops forgot the link. Sorry http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2004/04/american-cancer-society-test-results.html

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