San Francisco seeks to ban all indoor smoking, even inside private property

San Francisco seeks to ban all indoor smoking, even inside private property

San Francisco is considering implementing a $1,000 fine for people who smoke tobacco or cannabis in their own homes. A committee of the city’s Board of Supervisors last week to advance a bill that would ban smoking indoors—including private residences—in apartments with three or more units.

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the restrictions would apply to both cannabis and tobacco, as well as vaping.

According to the bill’s sponsor Supervisor Norman Yee, the proposal is to protect nonsmokers who have seen increase risk in secondhand smoke exposure. Similar restrictions are already in place in other cities and counties in California.

“I'm proud to help residents avoid being exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes. Smoke easily moves between units and buildings,” wrote Yee on Twitter. “Now that more of us work from home, it's more important than ever because there is no way to contain it.”

“Secondhand smoke exposure has skyrocketed in recent years,” Yee told the Examiner. “We have seen huge increases in secondhand vape, marijuana smoke exposure.”

The proposal states that tenants who violate the ban will not be evicted but repeat violators will face fines of up to $1,000, but not before a warning notice is issued to provide violators the chance to comply.

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, which oversees enforcement, will provide violators with education and offer ways for smokers—cannabis or tobacco—to quit.

The proposal is currently drawing support from the American Heart Association, which endorsed the move as an “important strategy to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke which can have immediate detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system,” said Laura Steinfeldt, the Bay Area executive director of the AHA. “Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with a 25%–30% increased risk for coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers.”

Support for the proposal isn’t unanimous, however. Reason Magazine highlighted contradictory evidence to the AHA’s claim—particularly in regards to vaping—citing a 2016 report from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, which found that “there is, so far, no direct evidence that such passive aggressive exposure to [e-cigarette vapor] is likely to cause significant harm.”

Reason called the proposal “pretty bad for privacy and pretty bad for liberty.”

The publication also highlighted the challenges it would pose for marijuana smokers, “who have few places to indulge if Yee’s ban were to pass. In San Francisco, smoking marijuana is illegal in public and in almost all businesses besides the city’s cannabis lounges—which are closed during the pandemic.”

The Board of Supervisors will consider the smoking ban in December.