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Council Committee to Hear Ordinance That Would Ban Smoking in Multi-Family Housing

On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will review a proposal that would make smoking in multi-family housing units a public nuisance.

The ordinance, drafted by the San Diego Non-Smoking Housing Task Force, outlaws smoking tobacco, real or synthetic marijuana, or any other plant or substance in multi-unit housing buildings if it "substantially interferes with another person's use, comfort and enjoyment, of that multi-family property."

If that's the case, residents can file written complaints with the landlord. If the landlord doesn't act and the smoker continues to smoke inside, the residents or the City can take civil action against the landlord and tenant.

However, if no disturbance is reported then smokers can continue to light-up indoors.

The idea for an ordinance was first introduced in 2009, when members of the San Diego Smoke-Free Project, led by advocacy group, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) began lobbying city officials.

Months later representatives from the San Diego’s American Lung Association, Social Advocates for Youth, the San Diego Housing Federation, and San Diego County Apartment Association, formed a working group and began to draft the ordinance. They presented that ordinance to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee in January 2010.

Little progress has been made since then.

In a January 2011 article, anti-smoking advocates expressed their frustration that the committee failed to act quicker. “The nuisance ordinance was supposed to go to the city attorney to help revamp it,” Mary Baum, then program coordinator for the San Diego Smoke-Free Project and an employee of Social Advocates for Youth, told The Reader. “We have emailed and prodded. The City needs to do something — people are getting evicted — but the City of San Diego is not budging.”

Now, a year later, the committee will hear the item at a 2pm hearing at City Hall.

Read the entire ordinance here.

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On Wednesday, the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will review a proposal that would make smoking in multi-family housing units a public nuisance.

The ordinance, drafted by the San Diego Non-Smoking Housing Task Force, outlaws smoking tobacco, real or synthetic marijuana, or any other plant or substance in multi-unit housing buildings if it "substantially interferes with another person's use, comfort and enjoyment, of that multi-family property."

If that's the case, residents can file written complaints with the landlord. If the landlord doesn't act and the smoker continues to smoke inside, the residents or the City can take civil action against the landlord and tenant.

However, if no disturbance is reported then smokers can continue to light-up indoors.

The idea for an ordinance was first introduced in 2009, when members of the San Diego Smoke-Free Project, led by advocacy group, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) began lobbying city officials.

Months later representatives from the San Diego’s American Lung Association, Social Advocates for Youth, the San Diego Housing Federation, and San Diego County Apartment Association, formed a working group and began to draft the ordinance. They presented that ordinance to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee in January 2010.

Little progress has been made since then.

In a January 2011 article, anti-smoking advocates expressed their frustration that the committee failed to act quicker. “The nuisance ordinance was supposed to go to the city attorney to help revamp it,” Mary Baum, then program coordinator for the San Diego Smoke-Free Project and an employee of Social Advocates for Youth, told The Reader. “We have emailed and prodded. The City needs to do something — people are getting evicted — but the City of San Diego is not budging.”

Now, a year later, the committee will hear the item at a 2pm hearing at City Hall.

Read the entire ordinance here.

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