A Guide to California’s Proposed Ban on Smoking in Apartments

by Laird Harrison, KQED.com  |  published on March 17, 2013

smoking ban

It’s move-in day. You’re sitting in the great new condo you just bought. And suddenly you catch a whiff of cigarettes coming from next door. If you’re a healthy-living type, your home-buyer happiness may be gone in a puff of smoke.

Now California Assemblyman Mark Levine, D-Marin, is trying to address that problem with a statewide ban on smoking in multiunit housing.

What would the bill do?

AB 746, currently in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, would ban smoking in “any residential property containing two or more units with one or more shared walls, floors, ceilings, or ventilation systems.”

It would be one of the toughest smoking laws in the country, and affect some 12 million Californians, Michael Krasny explained on KQED’s Forum Wednesday.

Why is the bill being proposed?

“When we sent our children to school, we send them to a smoke-free environment,” said Levine on the show. “When we go to work we have protections because of state law to work in a smoke-free environment. Where we should feel safest in our own homes, where we sleep each night, is not protected.”

The U.S. Surgeon General says there is no safe level of exposure to the smoke, but 4.6 million-4.9 million Californians are exposed to it in multiunit housing against their wishes. The smoke can pass through walls as well as ventilation, said Levine.

“We’re not trying to stop people from smoking here, what we’re trying to do is protect the people who want to breathe clean air from having to breathe this toxic air contaminant,” said Levine.

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