Sometimes a local municipality will decide that the issue of secondhand smoke drifting into residents’ homes is an important quality of life and public health issue sufficient to enact measures to reduce the problem.
A few of these measures and descriptions are listed below. Some cities enact a single measure while others enact several as a comprehensive way of reducing exposure to second hand smoke.
What can be done?
Disclosure: Requiring landlords and/or HOAs to provide prospective tenants or prospective condo buyers a map of the smoking permitted/restricted areas and units. This allows people to make informed decisions before moving into a situation that may not be good for their health. The city of Oakland has such a provision.
Nuisance: Non consensual exposure to secondhand smoke in a multi-unit housing situation may be declared as a public and/or private nuisance. If declared a public nuisance, law enforcement may respond to complaints. Declaring it a private nuisance allows the affected person to seek relief in the courts without involving law enforcement.
Units: Landlords can be required to make a certain percentage (up to 100%) of their units non –smoking and to have that stipulated in the lease. Such provisions can require that the attached balconies and patios also be made nonsmoking.
Outdoor areas: Outdoor common areas, such as pools and tennis courts can be required to be nonsmoking. This provides people with health conditions affected by secondhand smoke to use facilities available in the complex.
Grandfathering: Tenants who currently smoke may have their permission to smoke in a particular area, such as their unit, grandfathered for a specific length of time or indefinitely. Providing a certain phase in period with a definite end can help those who smoke adjust to the new law and be able to comply, while providing a definite end date assures those neighbors who are affected by secondhand smoke that the exposure will end by a particular date.
[iv] “Indoor-Outdoor Leakage of Apartments and Commercial Buildings”, California Energy commission, Public Interest Energy Research Program, Pier final Project report, Dec. 2006 CEC-500 2006-111
[v] ASHRAE Position document on Environmental Tobacco smoke Oct. 22, 2010
[vi] 2Novotny TE , Lum K, Smith E, Wang V, Barnes R. Cigarettes butts and the case for an environmental policy on hazardous cigarette waste. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009;6(5):1691–1705. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve &db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=19543415. As cited by Campaign for tobacco Free Kids Tobacco Fact Sheet: “The Impact of Tobacco on the Environment
[vii] Estimates of Smoking-Related Property Costsin California MultiunitHousing Michael K. Ong, MD, PhD, Allison L. Diamant,MD, MSHS, Qiong Zhou, MA, Hye-Youn Park,PhD, and Robert M. Kaplan, PhD
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