NEW YORK CITY: Bloomberg Calls For Residential Buildings To Ban Smoking
In an effort to increase the number of residential New York City buildings that entirely ban tenants from smoking, Mayor Bloomberg today proposed a law that would require all such buildings to adopt formal written policies on where and if smoking is allowed.
"We think that people ought to know whether they might be exposed to second-hand smoke in their apartment before they decide whether to rent or buy," said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "We know that second-smoke can go from one apartment to the other and that it can get at levels that are high enough to have health risks." The proposal marks the latest effort by Mr. Bloomberg to combat tobacco use in the city and around the globe. The bill specifically does not dictate whether buildings should allow or disallow smoking. But it would require buildings to develop policies that address whether smoking is permitted in both indoor and outdoor locations, including lobbies, balconies, courtyards, laundry rooms and, most controversially, individual apartments.Some apartment owners worry that such building-wide bans would reduce the saleability of their units. (Legislation similar to that proposed by Bloomberg is already in place in Maine and Oregon.) The percentage of smoking New Yorkers has plummeted under Bloomberg's decade-long reign, mostly due to city tax increases that have pushed the price of a single pack to around $15. Another cigarette tax hike is anticipated before Bloomberg leaves office in 2013.