Smoking ban may soon spread to houses in Florida

“We want our homes and our children to be safe and free of tobacco,” said Ellen Feiler, health promotion director for the Broward County Health Department. “We don’t want it coming through the walls. We don’t want people walking down the street and breathing in someone else’s smoke.”

Are you ever amazed by some of the things that you read? I have to admit that it happens to me on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because I read more news than I used to or maybe it’s because people have gotten to the point where they want to legislate away things they consider to be immoral or unsafe with a complete disregard to human rights.

What is the concept here? Public housing, private apartments, and condominiums should be smoke-free so that your neighbors don’t have to endure smoke seeping through their walls or windows.

In Miami-Dade County, health officials are working with some residents of Winston Towers condominiums in Sunny Isles Beach who would like clear the air in their buildings. It’s not an easy challenge, especially since residents own their own units.

Yes, the residents own their own units. One neighbor says the following:

But Koenig said her home shouldn’t be subjected to smoke from others, whether its coming from outdoor terraces or through bathroom vents.

“We had to close the bathroom door, the smell was so intense,” she said. “It was like a toxic waste dump. You don’t want to breathe this stuff into you.”

Yes, you have every right not to smoke in your home, but you have no right to tell someone else they cannot smoke in theirs. Or even on their outdoor terrace. Next will you tell people that if they have visitors in your smoke-free environment that their visitors cannot smoke in the parking lot?

One private sector company has the right idea. Instead of telling people they cannot smoke in their own homes, they will build two sets of condominiums. One that is smoke-free and one that is not. If people purchase enough of the smoke-free condominiums they will build more.

At Archstone Delray Beach, three-quarters of residents surveyed said they were interested in smoke-free housing, said Dionne Van Druff, Archstone’s operations manager for Florida. She said the company expects to start with one building where all current residents prefer smoke-free accommodations. It would then expand to more buildings based on demand.

“Once we start rolling those out, we’re assuming it will generate more interest as people get wind of it,” Van Druff said. She said the company would then look to offer smoke-free housing in Archstone complexes inPembroke Pines, Royal Palm Beach and west Boynton Beach.

What happens if you live in an apartment complex, public housing complex, or condominium where they decide they are going to go smoke-free?

The current campaign does consider the desire of smokers. Health officials come in and educate interested residents about the risks of secondhand smoke and the benefits of smoke-free housing. Besides lowering health risks, smoke-free housing reduces the chance of fires, can decrease insurance premiums and can lower building maintenance costs.

Officials also survey building occupants to gauge support for a smoke-free environment. Then it’s up to housing authorities, condo directors or apartment managers to decide whether to provide a smoke-free building.

Health officials educate residents about the risks… as I am sure that residents cannot read the surgeon generals warning that is already on every pack of cigarettes they purchase.  What they most likely mean by this is they pressure the residents to give up smoking for the greater good or find a new home.

Either make nicotine illegal or stop treating smokers like second-class citizens…

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