TACOMA, Wash., Aug. 30 (UPI) — Officials in Washington state say they’ll consider moving the health battle over secondhand smoke into a new and contentious arena — people’s homes.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board will consider a proposal next month to classify secondhand smoke as a “nuisance” in multi-unit housing, The Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune reported Monday.
Backers of the measure say they want it incorporated in the state’s landlord-tenant law.
“This is the last piece of the puzzle that needs to be placed,” Nan Hogan, who helped write the proposed legislation, said. “We’ve got smoke-free motel rooms, smoke-free restaurants, smoke-free bars, smoke-free office buildings and even prisons. Why should we go home and have to breathe it there?”
Hogan is a member of the group People United for Smoke-free Housing.
In most multi-family structures, the group says, there is no practical way to seal one apartment from another.
Smokers’ rights advocates say controlling smoking in rental apartments is unnecessary and an assault on private rights.
“This is political correctness run amok,” said Gary Nolan, U.S. director of the Citizens Freedom Alliance, which advocates for smokers’ rights. “They’re taking away the rights of the landlord. We have a republic, and they’re telling this guy what he can do with his private property. These people should be ashamed of themselves.”
Landlords are free declare their apartments smoke-free if they wish, Nolan said.
“They can say on their own, ‘No smoking in any of our buildings,’” he said. “The free market has a way of working these things out.”