News and Commentary

San Francisco Considering A Bill To Fine People For Smoking In Their Private Apartments
Final cigarette stubbed out, end of smoking
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Not content to ban smoking in public, San Francisco is now considering a ban on smoking in one’s own home, should they live in an apartment.

Reason reported that the city’s Board of Supervisors are considering the bill and voted last Thursday to advance it. The bill “would ban smoking inside private dwellings located in apartments with three or more units,” the outlet reported.

The bill wouldn’t apply to just tobacco products with known second-hand concerns, it would also ban marijuana and even vaping in the private dwellings, The San Francisco Examiner reported. Bill sponsor Supervisor Norman Yee, said in a tweet that the goal of the bill was to “help residents avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes.”

“Smoke easily moves between units and buildings. Now that more of us work from home, it’s more important than ever because there is no way to contain it,” he added.

San Francisco provides clean needles to heroin addicts, yet this bill amounts to shaming of those addicted to legal substances such as tobacco and marijuana.

“San Francisco currently bans smoking in the enclosed common areas of multi-unit buildings. Yee’s proposal extends this to the interiors of those buildings’ private homes, as well as to balconies and patios,” Reason reported.

Residents would first be sent warnings for violating the ban, should it take effect. They could then face fines of up to $1,000 for violations, though they would not be subjected to eviction.

San Francisco faced a $1.7 billion budget shortfall this year and passed a budget in September that would allegedly close it over the next two-and-a-half years. The city routinely faces budget deficits and has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as employees at the city’s Big Tech firms working from home realized they could live better in cheaper parts of the country.

“During the first year of the ban, the Department of Public Health would also be required to run a “multilingual and culturally responsive public information campaign to raise awareness of the smoking prohibition and cessation resources,” Reason reported. “Sixty-three California cities have implemented similar bans. Yee’s proposal is endorsed by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the San Francisco Tobacco-Free Coalition, all of which have issued letters in support.”

The letters, the outlet reported, insist there’s “no safe amount of secondhand smoke exposure” and ignore recent medical studies showing “no clear link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer.” The outlet also reported that studies have been debunked that claimed smoking bans in public spaces led to drops in heart attacks and heart disease.

“Yee has argued for his ban on the grounds that people are largely expected to shelter in their homes during the pandemic. One could use that same argument against the proposed ban: It’s better to have people smoking in their apartments than lighting up on crowded public streets,” the outlet concluded.

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