American Lung Association in California Applauds New Smoke-Free Housing Law

Statement by Jane Warner, President & Chief Executive Officer, American Lung Association in California

Sacramento, CA (September 8, 2011)

The American Lung Association in California is pleased that Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 332 into law. The new law will create momentum for the adoption of smoke-free housing policies throughout the state.  The author of the legislation, Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), showed great leadership in garnering bipartisan support for legislation that will help protect people from deadly secondhand smoke where they live. 

While it has been legal for landlords to prohibit smoking in the apartments they own and manage, the authority to do so was not specifically articulated in state law, until now.  This new law makes it explicit that landlords have the right to make their rental properties smoke-free.  This will provide an additional tool for tenants who are exposed to secondhand smoke to use when talking to their landlords about implementing a smoke-free policy to benefit the health and well-being of all tenants.

There is no doubt that secondhand smoke is harmful to people’s health.  Secondhand smoke is responsible for causing death and disease in nonsmokers and can exacerbate asthma and other lung diseases.  In a multi-unit housing setting, secondhand smoke drifts from neighboring units, neighboring patios and balconies and from outdoor common areas into apartment units through open windows, open doors and shared ventilation systems.

The American Lung Association in California advocates for smoke-free housing policies statewide, including encouraging landlords to prohibit smoking on their properties and advocating for cities and counties to adopt local ordinances that require non-smoking units.  For more information about smoke-free housing policies, including a complete list of ordinances that have been adopted in California, visit www.center4tobaccopolicy.org/localpolicies-smokefreehousing.