California town crosses line; bans smoking in your own house

With smoking in public coming under continual assault across the country, one California city is raising the bar even higher.

San Rafael has actually banned smoking in residences with shared or common walls, making smoking even at home illegal in such cases, according to ABC News. The ban, affecting renters and owners alike, went into effect Nov. 14.

Rebecca Woodbury, described by ABC as an “analyst at the city manager’s office,” told the network she doesn’t know of “any ordinance that’s stronger,” saying the measure was “based on a county ordinance.”

Cities have tax clerks, construction inspectors — and now “analysts”?

City residents are not pleased.

“This proposed smoking ban actually intends to punish people for what they do in their own homes. I really feel this is tyranny,” resident Tom Ruppenthal told the City Council in 2012, when the issue was raised, a local publication called The Week reported.

Demand for smoke-free homes has increased, according to Jessica Scaperotti, spokeswoman for a large multi-state rental property group. ABC reported:

“Scaperotti cited studies showing that secondhand smoke seeped through ventilating ducts and walls, even through cracks. “It depends on a building’s construction,” she said, “but it does affect the unit next door, with the negative health impacts due to smoke.”

The ordinance cites such studies, plus a 2011 study by UCLA that found that California property owners paid up to $18 million a year to clean apartments vacated by tenants who’d smoked.”

Asked if there was opposition to the ordinance, Woodbury said there was hardly any. “We have a very low percentage of smokers in the county,” she said, referring to Marin County.”

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