San Francisco Bans Vaping and Smoking Cigarettes in Apartments
San Francisco has become the largest city in the United States to ban vaping and smoking cigarettes inside apartments. The ordinance, which has been approved by city and county officials, initially aimed to prohibit marijuana smoking in apartments. However, authorities ended up banning vaping and tobacco smoking while exempting marijuana smoking from the new ordinance.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 in favor of the proposal on Tuesday. State officials say the proposal aims to protect renters from secondhand smoking and the health dangers it causes. The smoking ban will affect renters living in buildings with three or more units.
The Cannabis Question
After the smoking ban's approval, many expressed surprise that marijuana smoking was not included in the ban. The original proposal's main focus was to ban the smoking of marijuana inside apartments for several reasons. However, the proposal failed to gather support and ended up focusing on vaping and cigarettes. Supervisors voted 8-3 to exclude cannabis smoking from the ordinance.
State officials, who voted to exclude cannabis from the ordinance, said the approval would have compelled cannabis smokers to smoke in places that are not safe or legal. They also point to the fact that marijuana smokers are in different positions under state law. Cannabis smoking is already banned publicly in all public spaces in the state of California.
“Tobacco smokers and cannabis smokers are fundamentally in a different position under state law,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who wrote an amendment arguing to exempt cannabis from the ordinance. “Tobacco smokers, unable to smoke in their apartment building, can go out to the curb. There are other public spaces where they’re allowed to smoke. Cannabis smokers don’t have that alternative.”
Health experts were also consulted before marijuana was removed from the proposed smoking ban. According to a letter to San Francisco lawmakers, Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, wrote that “Secondhand cannabis smoke has not been proven to be harmful to humans.”
“Cannabis smoke has never been linked to increased mortality, even in firsthand users,” Dr. Abrams said. “Nor has firsthand cannabis smoke been shown to cause lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other serious health effects.”
Not Everyone Agrees
Some argue that it is absurd that cannabis is not included in the San Francisco apartment smoking ban.
“If the principle here is that anybody in an apartment should be exposed to harmful combusted products from an adjacent apartment, then there’s no justification for saying, we’re banning tobacco, but not cannabis,” Dr. Michael Seigel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University's School of Pubic Health said.
He also said lawmakers should be looking at helping smokers quit since smoking is proven to have adverse health effects. Dr. Micheal also argued that vaping should not be included in the ordinance since it is a well-known method of helping people quit smoking. He cited a recent scientific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found e-cigarettes helped people quit smoking and could potentially replace patches, gums, and lozenges.
“What this ordinance does is that it makes it almost impossible for smoker to legally use this method of quitting,” Siegel said. “What it is essentially doing is telling smokers: if you smoke, we have nothing to offer you.”
Fines and Eviction
Those against the new ordinance say it infringes on the rights of people. However, the new smoking prohibition has a lot of support. Many who welcomed the ordinance say it protects the health of nonsmokers. State officials were particular in protecting low-income residents living in packed apartment buildings. San Francisco’s Department of Public Health has been mandated to enforce the new ordinance. As per the new directive, repeated offenders would be fined $1,000 daily for any violation.
Health officials have long expressed concern about the dangers of secondhand smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 41,000 nonsmoking adults reportedly die yearly from exposure to secondhand smoke. There is a list of health complications associated with secondhand smoke, including stroke, coronary heart disease, lung cancer in adults. Children are also at risk of secondhand smoke, and it can lead to acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, slowed lung growth, respiratory symptoms, and severe asthma.
San Francisco is not the only city concerned about protecting its residents from secondhand smoke. Many others have passed similar smoking bans in apartments. Now San Francisco is the newest in California to join the no smoke in apartment ban. San Francisco now joins 63 California cities and counties with the smoking ban. Some examples are San Mateo, Santa Clara County, and Berkeley.
If you live in San Francisco or any other city with vaping laws, we encourage you to comply with these laws and vape responsible. Every vaper contributes to forging the public image of vaping.
Head over to our store, cheapejuice.com, for top-quality vaping supplies at affordable prices.