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Marin smoking ban stretches into the home

When California cities started to ban smoking in public under any circumstances, some thought they had gone too far. Some places, like Marin County, now go even farther, banning smoking all the way into your own apartment.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to bar smoking in condos and apartment complexes in unincorporated Marin County. The ban would forbid smoking even inside private apartments and patios.

Like similar ordinances, Marin’s was created to address concerns of second-hand smoke traveling into neighboring units, according to Bob Curry, head of the county tobacco disease program.

Health concerns aren’t the only gains from this ban. Supporters say smoking-related fires and other preventable tragedies would be curbed under this new ordinance.

Landlords may seek exemption for 20 percent of units, which can then be grouped as a “smoking section.”

One notable exception from the new ordinance: Marijuana. An early version included a ban on smoking herbs like marijuana, but legal and political issues led to it being dropped.

First offenses for smoking will result in a $100 fine and five days community service. A second offense warrants a $300 fine and 10 days service. If a third offense is incurred in less than a year, punishment includes a $700 fine and 15 days of service.

Opposition was muted while the board was considering the proposal, but some smokers, including Dan Godfrey, told the IJ they are frustrated with the new laws:

“I think it’s ridiculous. What’s next? You can’t even smoke walking down the sidewalk. Enough is enough. It’s never going to end.”

Marin County has recently ranked as the healthiest county in California and even the country. The survey also found that Marin had triple the number of binge drinkers than the national average.

The American Lung Association gave unincorporated county areas a C grade in regards to tobacco control. It gave the county a D overall.

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