October 15, 2010 - A groundswell of renters and owners are demanding smoke-free housing in multiunit dwellings, the final frontier in a fight that brought bans in workplaces, on airplanes, in restaurants and bars, on patios, near doorways, in prisons, and, just last month, in parks.
But the latest debate literally hits home, and pits tobacco users, who argue they’re consuming a legal product, against people who don’t want harmful smoke drifting into their suites through vents, hallways and windows. “It’s one of the next major health issues – I think in part because of the number of people who are now living in apartments and condos,” said Sharon Hammond, who helped launch smokefreehousingbc.ca, a website that offers advice to landlords, tenants and condominium owners.
She rejects the idea that the push to restrict smoking in private residences is a matter of conflicting rights, saying it is simply an extension of the logic behind ever-tighter government restrictions on tobacco use at work and in public places.
“People are also getting used to not smelling smoke everywhere. Then they get home and think, ‘If I don’t have to smell it when I’m out, why do I have to smell it in my own home?’ ”
For the most part, governments are remaining on the sidelines, but a handful of Canadian municipalities are already curbing smoking in shared dwellings. This year, Waterloo, Ont., banned smoking for all new residents in public housing, and began offering counselling and nicotine replacement for those who want to quit. St. John’s has adopted a similar policy, and several other jurisdictions are looking at following suit.
England - if you want to rent a place to live then it's time to quit smoking..
In the United States, the limits are more widespread. In 2000, just two public housing authorities had smoke-free policies; now that number has risen to more than 200. One municipality in California has put an outright ban on smoking in all multistory, multiunit residences. Some states, including Oregon, require building managers to disclose whether smoking is allowed and where.
Buffalo - landlords must disclose to tenants whether they allow smoking..;
Boston, Massachusettes - next, ban smoking in all public housing..;
In Canada, there are no bans on smoking in market-rate condos and rental apartments, but an increasing number of developers are looking at building smoke-free complexes – especially those seeking the coveted green LEED certification, (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a rating system performed by a third party on how green your building is.) which puts strict limits on smoking. Ms. Hammond and other opponents of smoking say such voluntary steps, along with a disclosure law similar to that of Oregon, are their preferred short-term route to smoke-free living. The anti-smoking lobby is also hoping for regulations making new condos smoke-free unless owners vote otherwise.
Although 85 percent of people in British Columbia (B.C.) don’t smoke, and the province has more than 725,000 residential strata lots, fewer than a dozen condo complexes have outlawed smoking. Still, some are concerned about the increasing calls for smoke-free apartments. BC Civil Liberties Association president Robert Holmes says the rights of smokers must be carefully weighed against the rights of non-smokers. Even though secondhand smoke has been deemed harmful, the degree of harm must be considered, since urban life is full of dangers, from car exhaust to cologne.
Tony Gioventu says it’s not that simple. As executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC, he argues that when people buy into a condo development, they are signing away their right to do whatever they want.
Reference: Shared buildings the latest battleground in the fight against tobacco,
JENNIFER VAN EVRA , The Globe and Mail, 10/13/2010.
Boston, Massachusettes - next, ban smoking in all public housing..