California County Takes Smoking Ban Lead

Posted October 25, 2010 in Government by Arthur Buono

Santa Clara County in California is among the first local governments in the country to ban smoking in some residences. The ban is likely to go into effect next month. It affects only multifamily residences, like apartments and condominiums. It’s controversial with smokers and nonsmokers alike.

  • Santa Clara county to enact tough anti-smoking laws
  • Smoking ban reaches from many public places into apartments, condos, townhomes
  • Even some nonsmokers question the right and wisdom of the ban
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Smoking in Multifamily Housing Called Health Risk

County supervisors see it as a public health matter. Secondhand smoke that escapes into nonsmokers’ residences can be a health risk as well as a nuisance. Some county residents though see it as a privacy issue. If you can’t light up in the privacy of your own home, where can you?

For one, not in county parks, and not in outdoor places like ticket lines or sidewalk cafes. All hotels and motels would have to be smoke-free. These restrictions have caught on in other localities. New York City is proposing to join Chicago and Los Angeles in banning smoking in some outdoor places.

It’s not clear if anyone will challenge Santa Clara’s ordinance, or can. The government regulates lots of things that go on in the home, or could. For example, you can’t keep chickens in a lot of cities, even though fresh eggs are good for you. You can’t get a certificate of occupancy for your new home unless the plumbing’s up to code. Still some people will see this, maybe rightly, as a different and unwelcome, if not unconstitutional, intrusion on personal liberty.

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