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San Francisco May Try to Ban Smoking Inside of Apartments



The city of San Francisco, California may soon prohibit smoking tobacco and cannabis inside of apartments and multi-unit housing.

A committee from the city’s Board of Supervisors voted to advance a bill that would ban smoking inside of private dwellings located in apartments with three or more units.

The restriction would apply to tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke, and even smoke from vaping. San Francisco currently bans smoking in enclosed common areas. San Francisco allows outdoor smoking at public events. Board of Supervisors President Norman Lee, who is the sponsor of the bill, explained the goal is to protect all residents from secondhand smoke.

“Right now, San Francisco does so little to help residents being exposed to secondhand smoke in their own homes,” Yee said. “Our health code currently prohibits smoking in common areas in multi-unit housing. It does not restrict residents from smoking in their own individual units. The problem is that smoke easily moves between units and buildings and there is no way to contain it.”

The bill would allow for fines up to $1,000, although tenants would receive warnings first. According to the bill’s text, eviction will not be a punishment for violating the ban. Yee said he is willing to accept an amendment that would allow medical cannabis use only.

Legislative assistant to Norman Lee, Caitlin Vejby, said about half of San Francisco’s population lives in multi-unit housing, so many would be impacted by the ban. If the ban passes, San Francisco would join 63 other cities in California that have smoke-free housing.

“The home environment is one of the most common places for secondhand smoke exposure,” Vejby said. “This risk is even greater for residents of multi-unit housing where residents are 3.5 times more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke.”

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