A California city considers a misguided proposal that would do just that, and be a serious encroachment on privacy
It’s an accepted – and often much appreciated – fact of modern American life that there aren’t too many places you can smoke. It’s been a long time since anybody was allowed to light up on an airplane, in an office, in most bars and restaurants. In New York City, you’re not even legally permitted to smoke in many outdoor public places. And in Orange County, you can’t light up on your own patio or balcony. Well, at least you can still come smoke in your own home, right? I said, right?
Not so fast, Don Draper.
On Wednesday, the city of Elk Grove, Calif., began discussions to ban smoking from rental apartments. Unsurprisingly, the California Apartment Association and the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley are opposed to the smoker-repelling measure. The Sacramento County Tobacco Control Coalition, meanwhile, is urging the city to become the first in the county to enforce an apartment-smoking ban. Several complexes in Elk Grove already have privately issued residential smoking bans — bans that are echoed in apartment complexes and co-ops around the country.
But the possibility of making a smoking ban a city issue is a thorny issue, one that permeates the public and private sectors like a freshly lit Newport on wool fibers. Cigarette smoke unquestionably and unavoidably stinks. It’s also a bona fide health hazard, especially for the very young, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. And it’s not like your neighbor’s smoke stays neatly in your neighbor’s two-bedroom. As local resident Mimi Dixon, who lives in a senior facility, told the city council recently, secondhand smoke “comes in through the walls, the plumbing, through the lighting. It comes through everywhere.”
As someone who’d prefer her own home not smell like an ’80s frat party, I’m not thrilled when the heady aroma of tobacco (or other smokable substances) wafts into my apartment. And if my building were to suddenly issue an all-points ban on smoking, it would bother me only to the extent that our awesome, eternally puffing super would probably have to move. But I was more aromatically offended when we had a neighbor who had cats and a penchant for never cleaning the litter box. True, secondhand cat box stink isn’t a health issue, but how serious a threat is a smoker when you’re not under the same roof?
Left to the needs and desires of individual landlords, co-operative shareholders and tenants, smoking bans can potentially raise the value of a property and increase the quality of life for everybody. But when it becomes a city mandate about what you can do with a legal substance in your own home, it’s an encroachment on the privacy of everybody, not just smokers. And that shouldn’t make anybody feel like breathing easier.
More Related Stories
- My miscarriages made me question being pro-choice
- Why I tried to be a punk
- I'm terrified of the cicada onslaught
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- SAT's right answers are all wrong
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- Conservatives A-OK with closeted Boy Scouts
- Horrifying new trend: Posting rapes to Facebook
- Corporate greed is poisoning America -- literally
- The new geography of poverty
- Childhood ADHD linked to obesity in adulthood
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- Chicago man breaks world record with 48-hour Ferris wheel ride
- I will never be able to afford Angelina Jolie's mastectomy
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
- Stephen Colbert to UVA: "You must always make the path for yourself"
- GOP actually bullies an anti-bullying bill
- Georgian police slow to react to mob violence at gay rights march
- 1 killed in Oklahoma tornado
- Thousands treated for sexual abuse-related injuries in military
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11