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New no-smoking frontier: Condos and apartments

March 30th, 2007, 04:38 PM
More condos and apartments are starting to ban smoking in private units. Is this a breath of fresh air or an invasion of privacy?

After retiree Judy Wilson moved from Georgia back to her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in 1997, life was sweet: fresh air, beautiful scenery, quiet neighbors.

A year later, a heavy smoker moved in across the hall from Wilson's second-floor unit in the Arlington Town Apartments. Wilson says her life changed.

"I started having all kinds of breathing problems and eye irritations," says Wilson, a retired assembly-line worker. After maintenance personnel tried and failed to stop the smoke in several ways, including ventilation changes, air filters and intake fans, she was moved to an apartment down the hall.

Everything was fine -- until more smokers moved in across the hall. "My doctor told me . . . that I'd better move away from it or else," Wilson says.

As similar scenarios play out in apartment and condominium complexes across the country, they are resulting in a new frontier in anti-smoking policies: private dwellings.

Not only are some condos and apartment houses banning smoking inside private units, but there is talk in Belmont, Calif., of a city law in March that would mandate that all complexes keep a portion of their units smoke-free.

Movement led by seniors

The war against smoking was first ramped up in the 1980s, when some of America's public buildings became smoke-free. In the 1990s, a slew of restaurants and bars in U.S. cities banned smoking.

Now, seniors are leading the way in the new battle in part because many live in communal environments, and they feel they are susceptible to the health and safety hazards of smoking.

"The primary drive for smoke-free housing in America is coming from the elderly," says Jim Bergman, the director of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Smoke-free policies in private dwellings are also taking hold because state and federal laws do not protect smokers in the same way that they protect people from discrimination based on race, ethnicity and national origin, say experts. But banning a legal behavior in someone's own home is an intrusion of privacy that could set a dangerous precedent that, taken to extremes, could allow government to regulate too much in private life, opponents say.

No safe levels of secondhand smoke

Smoking can also be a safety issue, particularly in close quarters, some say. "There is a great deal of growing interest in the senior-housing community about senior smokers because seniors become forgetful and careless about smoking," says Serena Chen, the policy director for the American Lung Association of California. Although cigarettes cause 10% of apartment fires, 40% of apartment fire deaths are attributed to smoking. Such fires cause death because they often occur when more people are asleep.

Giving more teeth to the push is a finding in a U.S. surgeon general report last June that there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke. Last year, the California Air Resources Board declared secondhand smoke to be a toxic air contaminant on par with other industrial pollutants.

For their part, condo and apartment owners are beginning to realize the additional costs of getting units ready for new tenants after smokers have lived there.

Across Michigan, 12 of 132 housing commissions have banned smoking in multiunit apartments and condos in the past two years, Bergman says. Two and a half years ago, no one could find a smoke-free apartment listing anywhere in the state; now there are more than 5,000, he says.

About two or three public-housing commissions in Michigan are adopting smoke-free policies each month. Elsewhere in the U.S., Bergman says, perhaps another one commission a month is doing the same. So far, that means that the public buildings owned and run by such commissions -- such as Arlington Courts in Sault Ste. Marie -- are taking such actions voluntarily.

A test case for the nation

But that could change in March in California. In Belmont, the city attorney and City Council are expected to break new ground by passing a law that affects all public and private apartment and condominium owners in the city, requiring them to adopt smoke-free policies for a certain percentage of their units.

"Belmont will be watched nationally to see how far it goes in requiring apartment owners to have smoke-free policies," Bergman says. "Since no other city has passed a law requiring private apartment owners or condo associations to have a percentage of their units be smoke-free, this will be unique in the nation, and other cities will seriously consider taking the step as well."

If Belmont's and Michigan's measures are being fueled in part by statistics showing that 80% of Americans don't smoke, they are also drawing ire from many among the 20% who do. Smokers wonder where they'll be allowed to smoke if new laws proliferate. Even top proponents of smoke-free policies question whether scientific evidence overstates the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke.

"There really is no evidence that even a fleeting whiff of cigarette smoke will give you lung cancer, but that's how proponents of these policies seem to be advancing their cause," says Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason Magazine, who authored a book about the anti-smoking movement.

If smokers are banned from apartments and condos, parks and other public spaces, the only space left for them to smoke will be single-family homes, a place where children reside. "The next angle we are going to see on this is how to protect children from respiratory problems in the home, and that is not the kind of place where I think the government ought to be intervening," Sullum says.

March 30th, 2007, 04:42 PM
I know non smokers will love this,but if this is what the world is coming to,i am scared.No way at all do i want the government to be able to start telling me what i can do in my home.What happend to this great place they call America????? I just cant believe how free they say we are and yet all these things that the government seems to be controlling now is worriesome to me.......I would never stop smoking in my own home whether it is a law or not,i mean how much more control over us are they gonna want!!!!!!!!!!

March 30th, 2007, 06:12 PM
its hard to say.... i recently quit smoking and when i did never in my own home, always outdoors. it sucks to say someone cant do something in their own home, but it effects the lives of so many others.
(as i mentioned in previous smoking thread) i have a neighbour smoker and the vent leads right in to my bathroom, not a nice smell for me to wake up to and shower in it makes my apartment smell, and with how many sensitivities braxton has, its one less we need.
so i dont know, i think smoking is ok, but should smokers have to flip the cost of the extra air filtration so it doesnt effect non smokers???? i shouldnt have to buy it or pay the extra for more cleaning supplies and air fresheners and my rent shouldnt have to go up to cover this cost either
it may be you right, but people often forget with rights come responsibilities

March 30th, 2007, 06:20 PM
This is coming up in Halifax too and I think it would be a good idea - our census figures show us 20% of the population still smoke and they need housing as well so there prob needs to be a compromise of having non smoking and smoking condos and apts. I know ppl who have become qwuite ill with smokers who live in their building since many smokers often forget or do not realize they are affecting others. I don't think they mean to affect others but the fact is they do.

Bangor, Maine has an interesting law - no smoking in autos with children and many jurisdictions are looking at this one. Even most smokers agree with it though! I would extend it to pets!! (who are very much more affected than even children from smoke). pets who live in homes with smokers do not live as long as those who live in smoke free homes. Ironically, this is the one place where an outside cat may be ahead of a cat who lives indoors. But not really!! Cars are still a bigger threat than cigarettes but some studies put cigarettes and poluution a number 2 for pets,

March 30th, 2007, 06:30 PM
I dont want to start the whole thing from the other thread again,but this goes beyond being wrong.It is my home,that i either bought or rent,and i still can understand if you rent it,then the ACTUAL OWNER,not the government should decide whether you are allowed to smoke in it.But if i bought my condo,it would be a very cold day you know where before i would go somewhere else to smoke,i mean just writing this i cant believe how insane this is,i am watching tv on a rainy day,in my home and i need a cigarette,let me get my umbrella ,put decent clothes on and go outside,OH WAIT,cant smoke there either to close to doorways and windows,not in a million years.And non smokers wonder why some smokers are rude about it and are not courteous,why should we be!! :usa: :frustrated:

March 30th, 2007, 06:37 PM
What about all the other toxins in the air???? Lets ban cars & power plants & so on and so on...You have to breathe that in everyday,what about all the deaths those toxins has caused???I am sorry but you guys are nuts to not see that it is not the governments place to plant these kinds of laws...

Mocha's mum
March 30th, 2007, 06:51 PM
In my humble opinion...depends if you rent or own. If I'm going to fork over $245,000 for a 884 sq ft condo (the value of mine right now) because that's what I can afford.....gosh darn it I'm going to do whatever I d**n well please in it. If you rent, I'm sorry I can't help you. It's technically not 'your' place to begin with.

That's all I'm going to say....before I :footinmouth:

Mocha's mum
March 30th, 2007, 06:53 PM
Thank you heidiho for saying what I want to, only much nicer :D You must have replied while I was typing my very much edited reply.

March 30th, 2007, 06:53 PM
Non smokers also pay for their homes or their rent.

It's a very difficult thing to call. Why should non smokers not have the same rights as smokers? Or vice versa?

Personally I think the government is seeing the downside of accepting the support of the cigarette companies for all those years and trying, unskillfully to rectify the situation. For years tobacco companies lied to the public about smoking and the true effects, maybe the government is just trying to phase out smoking. Perhaps it's the begining of the end for tobacco.:shrug:

And who says that the government isn't doing worse? Big brother is watching you and all that, gives me shivers just typing it.

March 30th, 2007, 07:04 PM
Your welcome and i am w/ you if you rent yeah cant help you there,but it should be up to the owner of the place to decide if you can smoke or not in there.And yeah non smokers own or rent also and do have rights,it is your right not to smoke in your place,it is my right to smoke in mine,where the smoke goes when it leaves the window in my place really is owned by no one,if it happens to travel to the place next door,well close the window,you know we have to make all these adjustments for non smokers,and i know some will say"good" well you have learned to accept all the other pollution in the air that is just as bad for you,so if you are in your home and smoke comes in from the neighbors place either shut the window or deal with it...And you got that right we payed 330000 for 700 sq feet,and pay a 400.00 a month maintence fee,there is no one that will tell me i cant smoke my cigarettes(WHICH ARE STILL LEGAL) in my home that i pay for.........

March 30th, 2007, 07:22 PM
I am a smoker....

I do not smoke inside my apartment, always out on my patio and I also do NOT smoke in my car when my son is in it with me, in fact, I do not smoke in front of him at all.

Still, I would be outraged to have my living options limited based on whether or not I can smoke...and I would be TOTALLY amendable to paying an extra cost for better filtration in my home as a smoker, regardless of whether or not I smoked inside.

March 30th, 2007, 07:31 PM
I read an article in New Dehli it is now against the law to smoke in your car..Is that where we are headed??? "Land of the Free", yeah right,,,This is just not something where the government should make the rules,if i bought an apt or condo complex,WHY should the government have any say on what my rules are when i rent it out???And if i am not mistaken cigarettes are still legal,so why should i not be able to smoke them in my house!! So what about legal pot??? If it is legal in Michigan would they not be able to smoke it in there house..Funny how in some states that is legal for MEDICAL uses,what about how bad the smoke is for you,oh yeah it is regulated by the government!! argghhh! I used to hate those people that were all like the government this or that,but it is true,and it is very scary....

March 30th, 2007, 07:35 PM
I was being unbiased, and honestly, I really don't know why you keep bringing it up if you don't want a debate. I wasn't doing anything but being devil's advocate, as I said in the other thread, I have a smoker downstairs from me, and have yet to have to go to his door to complain. Though, I must say, it isn't very fair to my kids who are only three and eleven that they have had to take up smoking so early. We lived here first, and will probably be here long after he leaves.

IF my neighbor would be good enough to open his window, then I could close mine, but not everyone is as kind as you are. That is what people are making a stink about is those who are not considerate to their neighbors.

Lots of people worry about the environment, and put pressure on the government to stop the regular use of toxins, last year they started a ban on using toxic pesticides where I live, for years we have been fighting the government regarding a power plant that they want to build not so far away from us. I have never driven because I don't need to, and don't believe that another car on the road is neccessary. And I'm not even involved in the war against tobacco.

March 30th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Hitler our government. As a smoker and a tax payer, I do get bent out of shape about all the horse crap about smoking. I respect the stupid discriminatory rule for us. BUT to tell me what I can and cannot do in the privacy of my home, whether owned or rented is just too much. Give me a break. In the perfect world no I would probably not smoke, but again in the perfect world there would be....

No welfare queens
No child porn
No crooks in government
No drunk drivers
No dog bans
No child abuse
No murders
No harmful drugs
No incurable diseases
No divorces

There now I feel better as I light up another one...

March 30th, 2007, 08:22 PM
:highfive: I think I'll go light one up with you!!!!

March 30th, 2007, 08:31 PM
I am a smoker....

I do not smoke inside my apartment, always out on my patio and I also do NOT smoke in my car when my son is in it with me, in fact, I do not smoke in front of him at all.

See,as a non-smoker, I would deffinately prefer that you smoke in your apartment. My neighbours belowme in my condo smoke; they smoke allll winter inside their condo, and I never smell a thing, but then spring comes and they move out to their patio, and if I openmy window, I get flooded with smoke. I agree that you shouldn't be told what to do INSIDE the place that you own (renting imo is a completely different issue) but when you bring it outside, you affect the rest of us, and it's just not right.

March 30th, 2007, 08:32 PM
My point really was that now the government is deciding what we can or cant do in our homes.Thats it!!!!!!!

March 30th, 2007, 08:42 PM
If you can't decide to stop smoking for your own good, maybe the government should have a say. I mean, especially in Canada where the burden falls to tax payers when you get sick, why not take a pre-emptive strike?

Jiorji (remember her?) had neighbors who smoked and the result was her clothes reeked and whenever they lit up, she smelt it.

Not all apartments have thick walls and filtration systems. Why should Jane Doe's kids smoke your cigarettes?

March 30th, 2007, 08:48 PM
No way,if the government seems to think they are so deadly ,like obviously they do,then just stop making them,make them illegal..

March 30th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Yeah, because that'll stop people.:laughing:

March 30th, 2007, 08:53 PM
oh another reason i may be on an anti smoking thingy lately.... my apartment building was on fire last week, the apartment one over and above me had an ember fall into the carpet he left and his apartment went up in flames, luckily noone was injured. i managed to get the dogs and only one of the cats out.... which means i could have potentially lost 2 of my family members.
my next door neighbour directly one wall away from me had severe water damage, everything was completely damaged he lost everything. and his apartment was completely gutted.
im not saying there arent a million things that can cause fires (stoves, candles etc) just some insight in to why i may be soo against it lately

March 30th, 2007, 09:10 PM
i am so sick and tired of smokers having fits about their inability to smoke where they please

I too wake up to the lovely scent of cigarette smoke in the morning. I currently have ALL my clothes scaterred on chairs and sofas and dressers because my closet is no longer usable because the smoke from other people gets into my clothes and I don't particularly enjoy smelling like a cigarette butt. But i do enjoy having a nice smoke free apartment.

And quite frankly, if you're a smoker and enjoy smoking up your lungs, then fine! Knock yourself out, but when It gets into MY space and the COMMONLY USED building hallway and the elevator and the laundry room, why shouldn't I get upset??

I don't understand why smokers make such a big deal about the unfairness of smoking laws. It's a drug, it makes you ill, end of discussion! If someone's shooting up, do you go and touch their siringe?? NO! ...I therefore don't care for your smoke!

*this was written while trying to eat my dinner and breathe through the thick smoke that's coming in my apartment off the hallway because someone's on their 10th cigarette, probably in an apartment below me.........soup never tasted so sweet, thank you!*

do you not understand?? You want the CHOICE to smoke. We non smokers want the choice to breathe clean air. SMoke travels, therefore we suddenly have no choice but to breathe in your smoke. In poorly ventilated apartment buildings such as mine, how do i get rid of the smoke in winter?!?! Open the windows in -30 weather??!!

March 30th, 2007, 09:48 PM
jiorji, hallelujah for that! ciggie smoke stinks - rude and offensive. it invades other people's personal space, uninvited and unwarranted - UUGGHHH! :mad: sorry but walls don't stop smoke from seeping through.

March 30th, 2007, 09:58 PM
I'm not trying to pick a fight, but in the responses I've seen since my last post..

We've been told NOT to smoke outside.

We've also been TOLD not to smoke inside.

Also, don't assume every smoker blithely thinks its okay to just puff away. I've quit, started again, quit, started again...and there have actually been YEARS between some of those. Its not as easy to drop it as some may like to think.

I've personally said I would have no problem paying extra to supplement filtration in an apartment / condo type situation where my habit may impinge upon others.

If that's not good enough, what is? (Totally not said in a hostile sense--tell me what YOU think)

March 30th, 2007, 10:03 PM
All I can say is ; my house , my mortgage , I'll smoke as many cigs I want in my house.

March 30th, 2007, 10:08 PM
smoking in your house when you live far from other people is not the problem. smoking in close quarters, where multiple people have to share the same space (ie multi-condo building), is the problem. smoke seeps through cracks, air vents, balconies, hallways, laundry rooms, lockers, garages, etc - not fair to the people who do not want to inhale those stinky toxins :shrug:

March 30th, 2007, 10:10 PM
yeah...your HOUSE.
when it's a building, where you share your space with others, or in a bar, or restaurant, it's good to have rules because it affects others....just like I can't turn on my music right now because it's past 10pm and it would wake people up, just like you can't have a barking dog in an apartment, etc.

March 30th, 2007, 10:34 PM
Maybe a better choice is lobbying for "lifestyle" living. Personally, even during the years before I became a smoker, I didn't have a problem being around it.

So, instead of trying to completely ban smoking in condos / apartments, maybe propose areas / buildings that are smoking versus non??? I know in my non-smoking days, I would go to a restaruant and not care if I got smoking versus non, as long as I got seated quickly.

March 30th, 2007, 10:38 PM
Yeah, but I would imagine, like everything else, the cigarettes now are probably more potent than they used to be... And people have more allergies and asthma now too.

I just wish everybody would quit. :sad: Stupid tobacco companies. :yell:

March 30th, 2007, 10:41 PM
Trust me, I want to quit. I will sound pathetic when I say that I picked it back up in the face of my parents divorce. But it is what it is.....impossibly hard to break...insiduously easy to pick back up.

This seems to be more of a debate thread, and as such, why not discuss the pros and cons of selective living? Design living areas to accomodate both life styles? Why not? Lots of hotels do?

March 30th, 2007, 10:43 PM
All they'd have to do is gradually make the ingredients less and less potent and then everybody would be weaned...:D

March 30th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Oh and why not to have two living areas? Because then non-smokers end up sitting/sleeping in the smoking section because there's never enough room in the non-smoking section...

March 30th, 2007, 10:49 PM
I'd have to say that it is the Smoking Section that's been shrinking of late. Maybe rightfully so, but still, I don't think its the non-smokers that would have the problem. Look at the smoking in hotels, restaraunts, work places....

Anyhow, this is about living quarters, and there will tons of issues around fair dissemination of availability if it ever comes to pass.

I guess I'm just trying to say that, as a smoker who is not able to BUY a house in the country right now, I'm willing to work with the non-smokers...

March 30th, 2007, 10:52 PM
Yeah, but I would imagine, like everything else, the cigarettes now are probably more potent than they used to be... And people have more allergies and asthma now too.

I just wish everybody would quit. :sad: Stupid tobacco companies. :yell:

Im just popping in here for a few points I just have to make... and them im leaving... this thread is so not going to turn out nice,
However, Yes taxpayers pay health care for smokers... well we pay for many health things that we ourselves do not do. Ex. Obesity, whats next banning obese people from eating because we dont want to pay for their by pass surgeries? Banning alcohol because the alcoholics may be using up perfectly good liver transplants? Thats just ridiculous.

Cigarettes are more potent than they used to be... however, allergies and asthma are not ONLY caused by cigarette smoke, when the h*ll did the peanut become the most deadly thing on the planet??? Is that due to the parents of kids smoking?? I doubt it.
Alot of our health problems are coming from what we we eat... and so on.
Its just so easy to blame everything on the smokers.

However on topic again....
I agree 100% with Ontarios no smoking in public places law... even when i smoked full time( which is still an on again off again thing, its damn hard to quit) I hated being in an inclosed area with a lot of people smoking. :shrug:

Anyways, thats it for me.

March 30th, 2007, 10:57 PM
All they'd have to do is gradually make the ingredients less and less potent and then everybody would be weaned...:D

Nope, trust me, your body gets itself accustomed to x amount of all the lovely toxins, if they gradually reduced them, you would in turn gradually smoke more.
And not to mention the addiction part that is habbit... the hand to mouth thing is my hardest hurdle, and I know thats what ends up dragging me back to it from time to time.

March 30th, 2007, 10:59 PM
Asthma and allergies aren't caused my smoking. I didn't say that... But more people have allergies and asthma, and that makes smoking more unbearable, on top of the probable extra potency of the cigarettes.

I have a super allergy to smoke, and it's not from lack of exposure to it, that's for sure.

March 30th, 2007, 11:03 PM
I agree that smoking irritates asthma and alleriges, but there are tons of other preventable things that do dont hear about that as much now do you... its just apparently easier to blame all the worlds health problems on smokers.

March 30th, 2007, 11:06 PM
I'll be out of this thread the minute it turns ugly as well. I don't have the longevity on this board to keep my reputation sterling.

I am trying to make a point that not every smoker is just blithely going about puffing with no regard to anyone else.

But now we're talking about limitations within the home that you own/rent. And I'm personally looking for suggestions on how to improve the situation that do not begin and end with "don't smoke".

March 30th, 2007, 11:39 PM
lol you smokers are funny. It won't get ugly because us non-smokers are so zen. :laughing:

March 31st, 2007, 09:44 PM
OK that's it......I am going to get a big ass ed bubble and go sit on the bottom of the lake and have a smoke. I wonder what life will be like on the moon, when they send all the smokers there? :2cents: :p