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SMOKING: PUSH efforts on apartments appreciated

Letter by Heidi Henson, Gig Harbor on Aug. 30, 2010 at 11:33 am with 10 Comments »
August 30, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: “Smoke-free in apartments?” (TNT, 8-29).

I support PUSH (People United for Smoke-free Housing) for bringing the issue of smoke-free apartments to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board, whose job it is to safeguard the health of our community.

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s report regarding secondhand smoke states:

• It causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke (50,000 deaths annually).

• Children have an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes breathing (respiratory) symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
• It immediately affects the heart and blood circulation in a harmful way. Over a longer time it also causes heart disease and lung cancer.
• The scientific evidence shows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
• The only way to fully protect nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke indoors is to prevent all smoking in that indoor space or building. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air and ventilating buildings cannot keep nonsmokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Research reviewed in this report indicates that smoke-free policies are the most economic and effective approach for providing protection from exposure to secondhand smoke. However separating smokers and nonsmokers in the same airspace is not effective, nor is air cleaning or a greater exchange of indoor with outdoor air.

Research indicates that the progressive restriction of smoking in the United States to protect nonsmokers has had the additional health impact of reducing active smoking.

(Henson is co-chair of the Tobacco-free Alliance of Pierce County.)

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:


  2. Heidi, the smell of sauerkraut makes me sick. I can’t stand hearing kids scream and making noise when I try to sleep. Barbeque grills add unnecessary pollution to the air that I breath. Dirty diapers clog up the landfills and leave a bad odor in the dumpsters. Pet hair makes me itch all over. Rap music drives me into a state of hyper tension and homocidal fits of rage. Let’s see, did I forget anything?

  3. Faulty research results in faulty information. Apartment owners can make some or all of their buildings non smoking if they choose too. The county health department shouldn’t be able to tell the apartment owners they have to. Pierce County health department has over stepped it’s authority before. If they do it again they should be tossed out on their ears.

  4. huffington says:

    Yes frosty you did. All of those things you mentioned are simply annoyances to you. Second hand smoke is a health hazard. I will support your rights to annoy me, but not to jeopardize my health.

  5. Huffington, wrong! all of the things I mentioned do indeed have an affect on my health. If a person is suffering from hyper-tension, unnecessary stress can result in a serious problem. Besides, were you aware that barbeque grills emit (gasp) co2? One person’s annoyance is another person’s crisis. You are not in a position to make that determination now are you? Second hand smoke filtering through a wall (if that’s possible) is what I would call an annoyance.

  6. The Surgeon General has also proclaimed that obesity is a serious threat to American’s and their children. After our glorious leaders pass this law, the next initiative shoudl be to ban fried foods in all apartment buildings. The smell of frying oil carries just as far and fast as cigarette smoke, and the effects of obesity are just as significant, especially when you realize that without comprehensive health care, we will have to pay for these poor overweight victims to receive adequate medical treatment.

    Get out of here. If you want someone to take care of you, move back in with your mother (assuming she doesnt smoke). The rest of us are fully capable of taking care of ourselves.

  7. spencerspencer says:

    I have asthma. I am renting a “smoke free” apartment in a “smoke free” building. Someone moved in two floors down and smokes. It goes up the ventilation stack and pours into the bathroom. The stench is amazing. My lungs light up and I start coughing. The land lord is trying to evict them, but the smokers have more rights than those of us literally, really, factually being assailed with this and cannot even breath in their own apartments. My apartment stinks. The towels stink. Using the bathroom can be an ordeal. I pay for a smoke free apartment. I’m not getting one. What is right about that. What makes this different than if they broke into this apartment and poured ammonia all over everything. What they do vandalizes my belongs and my health. No, no bleeding hearts here. Just a person who can’t breath in his own home.

  8. generalsn says:

    If building inspectors determine that a building does not meet fire and ventilation codes, which seems to be the case of some of the posters here, smoking should indeed be banned until building code violations are corrected.

  9. I can’t think of one good reason for smoking, but the government needn’t ban the use of tobacco because it harms the user. But, when it impacts the quality of life of another, then regulations should be put into place to protect the non-user.

    If your smoking fouls my breathing air, then you need to smoke somewhere else.

  10. sdjweinman says:

    As stated before — this is an unenforceable regulation… Owners and tenants have the right to choose. If someone knowingly moves into a smoke-free building and then lights up… the owner should take action… however.. it is impossible to prove the violation exists which is required to get a judge to sign a unlawful detainer for cause…. that owner should evict as soon as the lease is up.. then nothing to prove… just don’t renew the lease.

    There is no place for unenforceable regulations in our business… takes time, causes stress and no results.

    Owners have the right to choose the policies that make sense for their business model… Tenants have the right to live where they want and choose if the rules are acceptable to them or not before applying.

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