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Tobacco: California City Becomes First to Ban Smoking In One's Own Home

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #505)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Belmont, California, located between San Francisco and San Jose, has become the first jurisdiction in the United States to bar some homeowners from smoking in their own domiciles. While states and localities across the country have steadily imposed ever-tighter restrictions on smokers, the action taken by the Belmont city council marks the escalation of anti-smoking fervor to a new level.

On Tuesday night, the council adopted an ordinance that declares second-hand smoke to be a public nuisance and extends the city's current smoking ban to include multi-story, multi-unit residences. Belmont and some other California cities already ban smoking in multi-residence common areas, but now the ban will be extended to residences that share a common floor or ceiling with other units.

Homeowners or renters will be allowed to smoke on their own property only in single-family homes and their yards. Dwellers in multi-residence buildings will only be able to smoke in "designated outdoor" areas of their complexes.

The new Belmont apartment-smoking ban will not take effect for 14 months, so that one-year lease agreements will not be affected. But the rest of the ordinance goes into effect in 10 days. It also bans smoking in indoor or outdoor workplaces, and in parks, stadiums, sports fields, trails, and outdoor shopping areas. Smoking on streets and sidewalks will be permitted, as long as it is not at a city-sponsored event or close to prohibited areas.

City officials said enforcement of the smoking ban will be complaint-driven.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

the apartment near you, then you should be complaining to the property owners about how crappy the building is. The only apartment I lived in that I could smell tobacco smoke was also the building where the walls circulated EVERYTHING to other apartments. Trust me, me moving out had a lot more to do with the smell of foot rot, curry and fish than the tobacco.

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 7:33pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

This post is too funny. Lucky for me I only smell it in the common lobby of my apt.
Fact: As a smoker you SUCK as a person. You see you must SUCK to take in all that sludge in the smoke. So if you're a smoker you simply SUCK as a person. If you insist that others suck it in around you then you are just......well I can't think of a worse label then you just suck as a human being. So if you're a smoker we non-smokers would appreciate it if you go back to sucking your thumb instead. Doing so will also serve to keep you from disturbing the peace with your incessant whining.
This issue is much simpler than having to cite all the overwhelming scientific proof about the dangers of smoking. Besides if you're a smoker you are drug-addicted to nicotine and therefore a common-sense conversation about the dangers of smoking is unlikely to happen with you. Here is the simplicity of the issue. When you have to fart do you let is loose in a crowd of people or in an elevator? Usually not because the social consequences (embarrassment, reputation, knick-name assignment etc..) of having a scarlet-letter "F" placed on your chest is too costly. Imagine letting one rip in the middle of a work presentation or during a teaching in your religious gathering. These are the same peer pressures pushing our politicians to enact smoking bans. We wouldn't actually need these laws enacted just like we don't need anti-farting laws. But smokers are drug-addicted to nicotine and therefore will do pretty much anything to get their "fix", including the equivalent of farting in a crowded elevator.

Sun, 12/30/2007 - 2:16pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Why are all the anti-smokers out there limiting themselves by not advocating for those of us who are constantly being assaulted by all the foul smells your average apartment dweller is subjected to. The smell of fish cooking makes me gag, sometimes I even vomit. What ever happened to equal protection under the law? Those of you who find the smell of tobacco are gaining tons of protections to keep your sensitive noses from being brutalized. When will those of us, who can think of many smells which we find obnoxious, and are subjected to on a far greater basis, be protected from those evil perfume wearers/curry or fish cookers/people who don't shower often enough when its hot out?

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 8:18pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

So if tobacco smokers vaporize their tobacco instead of smoking it ... may they then enjoy their legal nicotine in their own homes?

Or ... will they all be forced to chew tobacco instead.

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 9:38pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm so sorry my smell gets in your nose. But ur perfume smells like a 'French' whores. Why don't you crawl back into the hole you crawled out of and let the living live their life! What are you? A Bull-dyke??? P.S. You are also a "Anti-Constitutionalist", which means you are an enemy of the U.S. Wanna argue about it? Bitch.

Fri, 10/12/2007 - 11:51pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Banning alcohol and drugs isn't working. Why does San Jose think that banning tobacco will work? By the way, I'm a non smoker.

Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:02am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Someone needs to measure just how far away one should be away from second hand smoke before it disapates and becomes harmless. I really don't believe that your neighbor will have any ill effects from it. Its all a bunch of bullshit. I mean whats next? Are we going to have to register at the DMV that we need to get a smog cert. because
we are smokers.

Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:14am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Everyone needs someone to hate. I guess, now that it isn't acceptable to hate people based on ethnicity, they had to find someone else. Check out some blog comments on things related to smokers. The anti-smoker crowed sound like a bunch of hate filled a** holes.

Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:22am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This ordinance will be struck down in a court of law. This is so unconstitutional I can't even believe....whoops yes I can believe that asshole politicians would think this would stand. New York has banned trans fats. WTF people what ever happen to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Sun, 10/14/2007 - 11:53am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

As far as I'm concerned I should not have to be subjected to the risk of lung cancer because someone has a bad habit. Living in a close-unit dwelling is made more difficult by having smokers right next door. Regardless of what a smoker may do to hide the smell, it is still there and it is more dangerous to those who aren't smoking than the smoker themself. Perfume's are not hazardous to someone's health, although they may irritate your nose; no actual health risk exists. Some household products can be hazardous if not used in the directed manner. Many suggest to use in a well ventilated room. Household cleaners, unlike smoking, has safe conditions in which to use. Our society has deemed the use of non-prescription, narcotic drugs, hallucagens, downers etc... as illegal. If we can legally deem that those drugs are illegal then why can we not say that smoking is to be illegal. The U.S. Constitution doesn't protect the rights of smokers. Although I do pose some concern in regards to how far can our government go to limit what we may and may not do in private, the issue with smoking is that it is never in private. The smoke effects numerous other people in the vicinity. Most smokers are ignorant in thinking they are only hurting themselves, when infact their second hand smoke is deadly to those within the spread of the smoke. Personally, I would have no issue with smokers if they only killed themselves with their filthy habit, but their habit preys on anybody within reach. I defy anyone to prove me wrong in regards to the Consitution, the effects of second hand smoke with valid and dateable facts, other wise, kindly be quiet and submit to your own ignorance.

Wed, 10/17/2007 - 3:45am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

as far as im concerned i should not be subjected to your beliefs or opinions as law.

You have provided NO evidence that second hand smoke cause cancer, yet there are MANY studies that show alcohol is more dangerous by far than most illicit drugs(you can follow the links to such studies right from this site).

So don't act like making a law against smokers is supposed to protect you, the government doesnt pass such laws to protect people, they pas them to CONTROL people. wake up!

and the fact that you think because the feds passed an unconstituional ban on some drugs that this means its ok is just ridiculous. You title your post that the ends might not justify the means and then argue that they do is insane. The ends NEVER justify the means. Just following orders(or laws) NEVER absolves one of the guilt they incurred by following immoral orders or laws. and how exactly can one debate your assertions that second hand smoke is deadly when you provide not one refference to back up your claims?

I intensly dislike organized religion, and history is chock full of evidence supporting the known fact that organized religions cause war, suffering and help to maintain an imballance of wealth between rich and poor. Zealots in our own country do much harm and violate rights of our own citizens(gay bashing, discrimination, abortion terror, it goes on and on) so is it ok to ban organized religion? Obviously the constitution means nothng to those who pass prohibition laws(as the constitution doesnt grant congress the power to ban any commodity, only regulate the trade thereof and tax it), so why not just ban religion. Then, how about free speech? Many people have no choice but to be subjected to hearing swear words that offend their sensibilities and scar their tiny little minds, causing who knows what serious problems later in life, not to mention exposure to 'dabgerous' ideas like homosexuality, true patriotism(not blind jingoism) and drug 'glorification', so what else should we ban?

and don't forget, one day they will ban something YOU enjoy, or can't so without. what then? will you meekly submit? if so u deserve what you get. if you protest, then you are a hipocrite, only caring about the laws that affect your interests.

Thu, 10/18/2007 - 2:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

There is plenty of evidence that second hand smoke causes cancer---it's almost more dangerous then smoking then damn things ourselves!!! People subjected to second hand smoke have about twice as high the cotinine levels than those who aren't around smoke, which CAUSES CANCER. Do more research people. Second hand smoke kills, and there are studies that show that.

Even if one day they banned something I, or anyone else enjoy, there would obviously be a good reason. But no, we wouldn't submit, we'd keep fighting, but if it's a fight we lost, at least we know we tried. In the end it may be for the best as it is. Fighting for what we believe in is all good and well, but if what we believe hurts other people, is that really something to be fighting for?

Mon, 10/22/2007 - 7:08pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

that SHS causes cancer. To bad the studies that generated them don't show the same. As far as cotinine. Its in food.
Guess you're the one that needs to do some research.

Wed, 10/24/2007 - 3:32pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Drinking alcohol does cause liver damage, this is true.

However, you drinking until you pass out or die of liver failure has no effect on me or other people. Your second-hand smoke does.

Same for Sky Diving, Trans Fats, Sugar, Caffeine....I can avoid all of this, but I can't avoid your second hand smoke.

Why should you get force me to smoke involuntarily?

Thank goodness Illinois is now smoke free. Other states will soon follow!

Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:38pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I have lived in my apt for 14 years I never had a smoker next door,my neigbors moved out and now I have 3 smokers living there, I have to open my windows to keep my apt free from the smoke smell,when I come home from work my apt stinks like smoke. I have asked the "new neigbors if they would open there windows when they smoke just to keep it from coming over here, there answer was fu#$ off!! My landlord could care less what legal options do I have, I have lived here a long time and this really stinks.

Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:19am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Smokers like to think they have "a right" to smoke in their own unit, even though the smoke spills out to neighbours. Sound also spills out to the neighbours. We have the right to listen to whatever music we want to. Most tenancy agreements allocate a quiet time between 11PM and 7AM (or 8AM). If you're an early riser & affected by neighbour's smoke and they refuse to do anything about their errant smoke, then they can get a long dosage of opera at high volumes starting right at 8AM or 7AM, with speakers facing their wall, and they can deal with errant spillage of soprano arias from Madame Butterfly with their sunrise. Nice trade-off, except the smoke is a health hazard, the music isn't - so they should have little to b*tch about.

Great news about this ban! Hopefully it spreads like crazy to other jurisdictions.

Fri, 04/04/2008 - 2:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

When you anti-smoking a**munches can come up with one single PROVEN case of "second-hand smoke" harming someone, then we'll talk. Not just one group coming up with this "proof", but verifiable evidence, proven without a doubt by multiple testing by groups/scientists not funded by either side of the debate. You can't.

Why can't smokers have the same rights as anti-smokers? No, that'd be too simple. Let's push smokers into a cave and treat them like crap (even though they, and they alone bear one of the biggest tax burdens in any state, one that saves non-smokers millions in additional taxes every years), yeah... that's fair. That's America. Sorry smokers... you have no rights, the anti-smokers said so. What a load of crap.

California can lick my ashtray.

Sat, 05/17/2008 - 1:25am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

seriously this is stupid. why not ban cars while we're at it? those cause more problems than second hand smoke. asthma has gone up massively since the 1950s, and yet, more people smoked then!

Sat, 05/17/2008 - 5:02pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I don't wanna live in a society when i have to move around every 50 seconds to avoid smoke in busy areas. If i wanna sit on a bench and somebody happens to be smoking next to me i'd have to move since 2nd hand smoke is much more dangerous since people dont breath the way the do from cigarettes but just simply like air...

Good job california, but i think it should by fully banned in all states, canada, and europe which happens to be years behind(smoking in every single restaurant... shame)

smokers are the SHEEP, for people with brains would not smoke!
well, only for following, otherwise sheep is much better animal then smokers :|

Wed, 08/06/2008 - 3:28am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm telling you right now this is a big mistake. Someone is going to snap and start killing those that imposed this law or maybe those that have nothing better to do but complain. Mark my words, watch and see, you can only push people so far before they fight back.

Second hand smoke is BS just like Global Warming is. Just today there is an article about how the Arctic ice is thicker than ever. No Global Warming, just busybodies sticking their 2¢ in to something they don't understand.

Just better hope you're not the one these people go off on.

Wed, 01/28/2009 - 8:39pm Permalink

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