San Francisco Bans Smoking Tobacco Inside Apartments but Will Still Allow Cannabis

City officials in San Francisco officially banned tobacco smoking inside of apartments, making it the largest city in the U.S. to do so. This law, however, will not apply to cannabis.

The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance in a vote of 10-1 on Tuesday, December 2nd. They did so in an attempt to address concerns about secondhand smoke. 

President of the board, Norman Yee, noted in a Tweet on Wednesday, “Secondhand smoke causes harm [and] everyone should have clean air to breathe where they live.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke causes more than 41,000 deaths per year in the U.S. As a result, 62 cities within California have already initiated similar bans. 

 

What About pot? 

Officials originally sought to ban residents from smoking cannabis in their apartments as well. Supervisors ultimately decided against this, however, as advocates pointed out that smoking cannabis in public is illegal. Thus, banning in-home consumptions would leave them nowhere to legally light one up.  

“Cigarette smokers or tobacco smokers and cannabis smokers are fundamentally in a different position under state law,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said to SF Weekly. “Tobacco smokers unable to smoke in their apartment building can go out to the curb or find other public space where they are allowed to smoke. Cannabis smokers don’t have that alternative. So I think it is important that we fully exempt cannabis from this legislation.”

This passage will prohibit smoking inside of buildings with three or more apartment units. Offenses can result in fines of $1,000 for repeat offenders. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will enforce the measure. However, officials cannot evict offenders for a smoking violation.

According to the Associated Press, the department will also be responsible for educating violators and helping smokers quit. 

If lawmakers pass the ordinance again, and Mayor London Breed signs it, it would take effect after 30 days.

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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