Apartment residents in the City of Oakley will soon be limited to where they can light up around their buildings.
Following a flurry of complaints from occupants about second -hand smoke late last year, the city council passed an ordinance during its meeting last week regulating smoking at apartment complexes.
Under the ordinance, which applies to apartment complexes with two or more units, smoking would be prohibited in all common areas, on outdoor patios and within 20 feet of all doors, windows and air duct/ventilation systems. Smoking and non-smoking units will also have to be designated. The ordinance also mandates that all future apartment complexes built in the city be completely smoke free.
“I am not a smoker, but I defend a smoker’s right to choose to do that as long as it’s not interfering with other people’s choices or ability to not enjoy your smoke,” said Mayor Randy Pope.
Aside from targeting tobacco smoke, the ordinance applies to smoke generated by the smoking of marijuana, crack cocaine and the electronic vapors from electronic cigarettes, which the city added into the ordinance after evidence from the American Lung Association and National Association of City and County Health Officials concluded the vapor includes harmful substances.
“There are some carcinogens and toxic chemicals that are actually released by the electronic cigarettes, some of which are the same chemicals you find in automobile anti-freeze,” said the city’s special counsel William Galstan
The city will rely on apartment managers to handle everyday compliance of the ordinance around the city’s complexes, according to Galstan. Landlords will be required to provide tenets with their compliance policy, a floor plan showing the location of smoking and non-smoking units and insert a provision into all new and renewed leases that states violation of the ordinance could lead to eviction. Violators that refuse to comply would then likely be sent a warning letter from the city’s code enforcement staff and be subject to a $100 fine.
Galstan said the ordinance blends the needs of the residents and apartment managers, noting the city worked with the California Apartment Association, Tobacco Prevention Project and the Contra Costa Health Services to draft the ordinance.
“It turns out smokers create some costs for apartment owners because they have to typically repaint, change the carpets and so forth after a smoker leaves,” Galstan said.
Erin Mathias, property manager of The Oaks on Carol Lane, said management at the complex was happy with how the ordinance turned out.
“It is supportive of both apartment complex managers as well as residents of apartments,” she said. “We are very happy with the outcome of the ordinance and are appreciative of the efforts put forth by the city to bring this about.”
Oakley resident Wendy Escamilla, who was the only person to speak out about the ordinance at the meeting, said she supports the ordinance and would like to see the city do more to curb smoking in public.
“I feel like anywhere public, people shouldn’t be allowed to smoke,” Escamilla said.
The ordinance will go into effect in 90 days to allow apartment managers time to prepare the documents necessary to comply with the new rules.
Mr Galstan didn't even mention the most insidious chemical in electronic cigarettes. I'm surprised that he didn't mention it. Dihydrogen Monoxide. This substance is so toxic that it can even dissolve rock, no surprise that every living being coming into contact with it dies.
Yet again another instance of ignorant, misinformed, uneducated politicians enacting law
To the amazingly uninformed council member that made this Comment that flies in the face of real science, "There are some carcinogens and toxic chemicals that are actually released by the electronic cigarettes, some of which are the same chemicals you find in automobile anti-freeze,” said the city’s special counsel William Galstan". You could not possibly be more wrong if you tried, sir. There are many, many, studies that have been done that concur that their are no such chemicals in electronic cigarettes. Those are in cigarettes ONLY! And the tired antifreeze argument about that being in e-cigs, also blatantly wrong. Wrong in the manner you suggested. The ingredient is Propylene Glycol, added to make antifreeze less toxic in case it's ingested by human's or animals, not the active ingredient. It is also found in many medicines. Please get the real facts before participating in making any more bad and uninformed law.
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