This whole “ban smoking in multi-family housing” is ridiculous. First, it is not up to the City to regulate personal habits that are legal. If a property owner says “I am going to allow smoking in my building” – disclosure, in writing, to new tenants is all there needs to be for them to make an informed decision. For condominium homeowners, they already have a governing body called the HOA, to determine when and where someone can smoke in the condos and complex. And, when you are purchasing a condo, you are given the CC&RS to read prior to purchasing. They would have these rules.
Nor, is it up to the City Council to make a legal habit illegal. As we all know, the war on drugs is a failure; and this venture will be not only a failure, but can become a lawsuit regarding constitutional rights and discrimination.
As a former smoker I know that quitting smoking is difficult and stressful. Some people simply cannot and do not want to quit smoking. That is their right. Smoking itself is not illegal. It is unhealthy but not illegal.
It is the right of property owners to determine if they want their properties, whether single family residences or multi-family residences to be smoking or non-smoking facilities and it is up to them to enforce the same through Leases and Tenant Rules.
I am also concerned about the definition of smoking. Many people have medical marijuana prescriptions for medical reasons. Are they not allowed to take their “prescription” at home because the government is trying to regulate their lives? Is that not a violation of the law to keep someone from taking their doctor prescribed medication because they don’t like it?
In reading about the social-economic status of smokers versus non-smokers www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0260.pdf It seems to me that this is a form of discrimination against the poorest of our citizens. The report says:
• In the past, the highest income Americans smoked at levels even greater than the poorest; now they smoke at barely half the rate of those with the lowest income.
• 27.9 percent of adults who are below the poverty level smoke, compared to 17 percent of adults who are at or above the poverty level.
• Among adults under age 65, 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees and 30 percent of uninsured
individuals smoke, compared to 15 percent with private insurance coverage.
• 24.7 percent of adults who do not graduate from high school smoke, compared to just 9.1 percent of those with a college education and 5.9 percent of those with a graduate degree.
• Smoking among non-college bound high school seniors more than twice that of college bound
high school seniors (28.9% vs. 13%, respectively).
Before the Council decides to enact this law, I would suggest to them that they consider the ramifications, from bringing “ big brother” into people’s homes, to discrimination against the poor in our community. Please consider the broader ramifications before enacting a law that will surely get the city sued.
Editor’s Note – The Culver City City Council heard a discussion of banning smoking in multi-unit housing at the last council meeting on August 11,2014 and will continue discussion at a future meeting.