Society

San Rafael, Calif. Passes Ban That Makes It Illegal To Smoke In Own House If Walls Are Shared With Another Dwelling

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Before anyone lights a cigarette in San Rafael, Calif., they should make sure they know the law as the town has passed a ban on smoking that city officials tout as the toughest in the country.

ABC News reports that the California town’s new ordinance makes it illegal for residents to smoke in their own homes if they share a wall with another dwelling. The ban applies to owners and renters alike, and it covers condominiums, co-ops, apartments and any multi-family residence containing three or more units.

“We are happy to blaze a trail,” Mayor Gary Phillips said before the vote, according to Mail Online. “We're most happy to be in the forefront of the issue because we think it will greatly benefit our residents and those visiting San Rafael, and we think it will set the tone for other cities as well.”

The ordinance also made it illegal to smoke outside in downtown San Rafael unless the smoker is “actively passing” on their way somewhere else.

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"We based it on a county ordinance, but we modified it, and ended up making it the strictest. I'm not aware of any ordinance that's stronger," Rebecca Woodbury, an analyst at the San Rafael City Manager's office, told ABC News.

The ban in San Rafael went into effect on Nov. 14.

Earlier this year, the Related Companies became the first developer and property owner to ban smoking in all 40,000 of its rental residences in 17 states.

A spokesperson for Related noted the popularity of the ban.

"There are more people who want to live in smoke-free environments than there are apartments available. Demand far exceeds supply."

Sources: ABC News, Mail Online