San Francisco Considers $1,000 Fines for Folks Smoking Tobacco or Hashish in Their Flats – Motive.com

San Francisco politicians are considering another policy that would harm tenants in the event of property violation: a ban on smoking in private homes.

On Thursday, a committee of the city’s board of directors voted to propose a bill banning smoking in private homes in homes with three or more units. The San Francisco Examiner reports that the restrictions would apply not only to tobacco products, but also to smoking marijuana and even vaping.

According to billing sponsor supervisor Norman Yee, the goal is to protect non-smoking apartment residents from the fumes of their ruthless neighbors.

“I take pride in helping residents avoid exposure to secondhand smoke in their own homes,” Yee tweeted as he introduced the bill last week. “Smoke moves easily between units and buildings. Now that more of us are working from home, it is more important than ever because there is no way to contain it.”

San Francisco currently prohibits smoking in the enclosed public areas of multi-unit buildings. Yee’s proposal extends to the interiors of these buildings’ private homes, as well as balconies and terraces.

The bill would allow the city’s Department of Health to punish offenders with a fine of up to $ 1,000, though the investigator reports they would receive warnings first. According to the legal text, a violation of this prohibition would not be a reason for eviction.

During the first year of the ban, the Ministry of Health would also need to “conduct a multilingual and culturally engaging public information campaign to raise awareness of the smoking ban and smoking cessation resources”.

63 California cities have similar bans. Yee’s proposal is endorsed by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the San Francisco Tobacco-Free Coalition, all of which have issued letters of support.

Common claims about the dangers of secondhand smoke are made in these letters, including the notion that “there is not a safe amount of secondhand smoke exposure” and that secondhand smoke kills 41,000 people annually. However, recent medical studies have not found a clear link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer. Unlikely claims that smoking bans in public spaces are causing massive, immediate decreases in heart attacks and heart disease have also been largely debunked. A 2016 report by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK stated that “there is no direct evidence of such passive exposure to date [to e-cigarette vapor] is likely to cause significant damage. “

Yee has spoken out in favor of his ban as people are expected to seek refuge in their homes during the pandemic. One could use the same argument against the proposed ban: it is better to let people smoke in their homes than to light up on crowded public streets.

This is especially true for marijuana smokers, who would have few places to pamper themselves if Yee’s ban were passed. In San Francisco, smoking marijuana is illegal in public and in almost all businesses except the city’s cannabis lounges, which are closed during the pandemic.

In his credit, I think Yee proposed a change that would allow people with medical marijuana cards to continue smoking weed in their homes, the examiner said. At least one manager, Rafael Mandelman, has said he wants a blanket exemption for cannabis.

Given the weak public health case to crack down on second-hand smoking, it is difficult to view this proposal as anything other than an advanced form of invasive nanny statism. It effectively treats people’s homes as public places just because they happen to live in an apartment building.

That’s pretty bad for privacy and pretty bad for freedom. It’s also quite discriminatory to apartment dwellers. People who are rich enough to be able to afford a house or at least a maisonette in the extremely expensive city are not affected by the ban.

None of this is meant to ignore the preferences of non-smokers who don’t want to smell cigarette smoke in their own four walls. However, this preference can be satisfied by living in a building where smoking is prohibited as a condition of the lease. Likewise, smokers who want to live in their own four walls should be able to choose a building that allows them.

Obviously, people’s ability to find a building that suits their indoor smoking preferences is made significantly more difficult by the prohibition of apartments in much of the city in San Francisco. This lack of housing forces these two groups of people to live cheek to ashtrays in whatever houses they can find, creating conflict.

A better solution would certainly be to legalize new buildings so that consumers can choose from more types of housing in more locations. Smokers and non-smokers would then be better able to choose environments that better suit their needs.

The entire board of directors will be considering Yee’s smoking ban for the next month.

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