San Francisco Bans Smoking Tobacco Inside Apartments, Allows Marijuana

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San Francisco has banned smoking tobacco inside apartments due to secondhand smoke concerns but residents are still allowed to smoke pot.

“The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 Tuesday to approve the ordinance making San Francisco the largest city in the country to ban tobacco smoking inside apartments,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The initial proposal hoped to ban people from smoking weed inside their apartments but officials voted to exclude smoking marijuana when cannabis activists said the law would remove their only legal place to do so.

“After starting this in January, I’m happy to report @sfbos passed my Smoke-free Multi-Unit Housing Legislation tonight, with a cannabis exemption,” Norman Yee, president of the San Francisco board of supervisors, tweeted Tuesday.

“Secondhand smoke causes harm & everyone should have clean air to breathe where they live. Thanks to my colleagues for their support!” he concluded.

In regard to smoke from marijuana, the way it affects someone’s lungs depends on how it is consumed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Smoked marijuana, in any form, can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. Smoke from marijuana contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Smoking marijuana can also lead to a greater risk of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production. These symptoms generally improve when marijuana smokers quit.

The known health risks of secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke—to the heart or lungs, for instance—raise questions about whether secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke poses similar health risks. While there is very little data on the health consequences of breathing secondhand marijuana smoke, there is concern that it could cause harmful health effects, including among children.

People against the smoking ban said it infringed on their rights when they are inside their homes, while supporters said “it’s important to protect the health of nonsmokers — particularly low-income residents who live in dense apartment buildings,” the AP article continued.

The city’s Department of Public Health will be in charge of enforcing the law.

“Under the ordinance, the department must first try to educate violators and help smokers quit. Repeat offenders could be fined $1,000 a day but can not be evicted for a smoking violation,” the report concluded.


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