California Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin) has proposed a new bill that would ban smoking in apartments, townhouses and condos in the Golden State.
According to SFGate.com, the bill, AB 746, would ban smoking in “any residential property containing two or more units with one or more shared walls, floors, ceilings, or ventilation systems.”
“When we sent our children to school, we send them to a smoke-free environment,” Levine told KQED.org. “When we go to work we have protections because of state law to work in a smoke-free environment. Where we should feel safest in our own homes, where we sleep each night, is not protected.”
“We’re not trying to stop people from smoking here, what we’re trying to do is protect the people who want to breathe clean air from having to breathe this toxic air contaminant."
Levine cited a poll by the American Lung Association showing that 82 percent of California renters would rather live in an apartment complex where they don’t have to breathe second-hand smoke.
However, some landlords fear they will be liable for renting to smokers.
“We can’t enter the unit without the tenants’ agreement,” said Debra Carlton, senior vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Association. “But at the same time it tells landlords you are responsible for the actions of your tenants.”
“We want to make sure we do this right in not putting people out in the streets, but at the same time we’re not harming the tenants next door who don’t want to breathe second-hand smoke."
Levine said that already 40 local jurisdictions, and 18 housing authorities have passed some sort of prohibition on smoking in multiunit housing: “I was part of passing this in San Rafael where we had a 100 percent ban. Enforcement has not been a problem at all.”