For the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project home page, click here.
For the Smoke-Free Policies in Facilities Serving Older Persons home page, click here.
Visit SFELP's award-winning MISmokeFreeApartment web site, which has a wealth of information and resources for apartment owners and for tenants seeking smoke-free apartments. To access the site, click above. To access a press release describing the campaign, click here. To access a press release titled Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Came of Age in 2007 which describes the dramatic progress made in 2007, click here. To access a press release titled End of Year Heralds Record Numbers of Smoke-Free Apartments in Michigan and the Nation which describes the enormous progress made in 2008, click here. To access a press release titled Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing in Michigan & the Nation: A Decade of Enormous Growth, which described the progress made between 2000 and the beginning of 2010, click here.
News Updated February 10, 2011; 1 note posted today
2/10: The following is from a Feb. 1st Copenhagen Post article: Ban reflects increasing focus on public health, experts say. No-smoking signs could soon become a fixture of some flats after a housing association announced it has plans to build 30 smoke-free units. The flats, a part of the Frederikshavn Housing Association, would be the first of their kind in the country, but the trend toward non-smoking council housing seems to be spreading. Two of the country’s largest housing associations, AAB and KAB, said they also expected to provide smoke-free accommodation in the near future. Although experts pointed out that an increasing focus on public health made the smoking ban a natural development, at least one housing association head said his organisation had no plans to ask people not to smoke in their own home. “We need to ask ourselves what homes are for,” Palle Adamsen, director of Lejerbo, told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “Is it a place where we can live our live our own lives? I believe that it is.” To access the news story, click above.
2/4: The following is from a February 2, 2011 New York Times article: After a bitter debate over individual liberties and the role of government, the City Council on Wednesday handily approved a bill to ban smoking in 1,700 city parks and along 14 miles of city beaches. By a 36-to-12 vote, the Council passed the most significant expansion of antismoking laws since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pushed to prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars in 2002. The Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said the ban was an affirmation of the rights of nonsmokers. “Their health and their lives should not be negatively impacted because other people have decided to smoke,” Ms. Quinn said at a news conference. Opponents of the bill spoke strongly against it; several members derided it as an overly broad law that would infringe on individual liberties. “We’re moving towards a totalitarian society if in fact we’re going to have those kinds of restrictions on New Yorkers,” said Councilman Robert Jackson of Manhattan, who described himself as a marathon runner and nonsmoker. Others said the ban would set a dangerous precedent. Councilman Daniel J. Halloran III of Queens said, “Once we pass this, we will next be banning smoking on sidewalks, and then in the cars of people who are driving minors and then in the homes.” A compromise that would establish designated smoking areas outdoors was scuttled by Council leaders in favor of an all-out ban. The bill will become law 90 days after Mr. Bloomberg signs it, which he is expected to do this month. “This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. Enforcement of the law will fall to the Department of Parks and Recreation, which can impose $50 fines. Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer of Manhattan, a longtime advocate for stricter antismoking laws, said increasing revenue for the city was not the goal. “I’m not interested in arrests; I’m not interested in revenue,” she said. “I’m just interested in public health.” To access the full article, click above.
12/2: The following is from a Nov. 26th Detroit News article: Confusion over Michigan's medical marijuana initiative has led to patients with valid prescriptions losing their jobs or being threatened with eviction from their homes. Court battles are heating up across the state, as judges, prosecutors and lawmakers try to fill in the gaps in what some say is a vague law. "Can you, or can't you? There is confusion in Michigan," said Jim Bergman of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project. "You've got a conflict in the laws." Michigan voters passed an initiative legalizing medical marijuana use in 2008. The initiative received 63 percent of the vote and won a majority in all 83 counties. After the law went into effect in April 2009, patients could apply to the state Department of Health for ID cards that prevent them from being arrested for doctor-advised medical use of marijuana. Far from settling the debate, the initiative has led to courtroom scrapes and communities interpreting the law differently. … In Elk Rapids, Montroy was served with an eviction notice from her apartment. She had a marijuana plant growing in a locked closet in her home. State guidelines mandate keeping the plant in a secured area. In Montroy's case, the sticking point was the federal subsidy received for her apartment. Under federal law, marijuana use is illegal; many federally subsidized apartment complexes believe they must follow federal laws or risk losing federal funding. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit on her behalf, and Montroy was allowed to stay in her apartment. "We have multiple complaints from people who are doing everything by the book and being told by their landlords they have to leave," said Dan Korobkin, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. "Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are seeing their rights violated all around the state." More cases are likely to go to court as more apartment complexes go totally smoke-free, said Bergman of the Ann Arbor-based Smoke Free group. Banning cigarettes saves apartment owners the cost of new carpet and repainting when a smoker moves out, Bergman said. He added that allowing medical marijuana in apartments could raise issues of fairness for neighboring tenants, who may work in a zero-tolerance drug environment and could acquire the active compound of marijuana in their bodies from breathing in second-hand smoke. Medical marijuana-related evictions will rise until there is clear definition of the law, officials say. "There needs to be a case get to the (Michigan) Supreme Court because we need some clarity," Bergman said. "There's confusion out there now." Click above to access the full article.
12/1: The following is from a November 24th Niles Daily Star article: The Niles Housing Commission took a few steps toward its goal of being a smoke-free environment by 2012. The commission’s board of directors voted unanimously last week to adopt a smoke-free policy for all its properties. Executive Director Mary Ann Bush said going smoke-free is an issue the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had been encouraging public housing associations to do for some time. “HUD has been kind of urging us to do that,” board chairman David Van Strien said. All indoor and outdoor common areas will be smoke-free effective Jan. 1, 2011. All indoor and outdoor areas, including living units, will be totally smoke-free as of Jan. 1, 2012. This means all 179 units owned by the Niles Housing Commission will be completely smoke-free in about 13 months including the 129 units in the Niles high-rise and 50 scattered site homes. Bush said there were two areas of focus on behalf of the commission when it came to the issue, the first being the obvious health benefits to non-smokers. … But there are also added cost benefits to the commission. “We started to look at the expense to turn a unit from a smoker to a non-smoker,” Bush said. The amount seems to almost double. Bush estimates a cost of $1,200 to rehab an apartment after a non-smoking resident moved out. That amount doubles for smokers, costing anywhere between $2,200 and $2,400. For homes, the cost is between $1,800 and $2,200 to rehab a home of a non-smoking resident and anywhere between $3,500 and $4,400 for smoking residents. Click above for the full article.
11/22: On November 18th, the Board of the Niles Housing Commission voted unanimously to adopt a smoke-free policy for all its properties. This action is a milestone in Michigan, as Niles becomes the 50th local housing commission in the state to adopt a smoke-free policy. The Board of the Niles Housing Commission voted to make all indoor and outdoor common areas smoke-free effective on January 1, 2011. The Board also voted to make all indoor and outdoor areas, including living units, totally smoke-free as of January 1, 2012. Thus, all 179 units owned by the Niles Housing Commission will be completely smoke-free in about 13 months; this includes 129 units in a high rise and 50 scattered site homes. The Cadillac Housing Commission was the first Michigan housing commission to adopt a smoke-free policy, doing so in July, 2005. Since then, 48 other housing commissions had also adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their properties. The housing commissions range in size from ones with 20 or fewer units to the largest in the state, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. With the action by the Niles Housing Commission, about 8,400 units of public housing will be covered by smoke-free policies in Michigan. Nationally, about 225 local housing authorities have now adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their residential units. Inasmuch as only about 18 housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies as of December 31, 2004, there has been a very dramatic increase of about 1250% in less than 6 years, as housing authorities have seen that smoke-free policies are not only good for the health of their residents, but are good for the financial bottom line because smoke-free policies reduce maintenance costs and prevent cigarette-caused fires. Jim Bergman, director of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project, praised the Board of the Niles Housing Commission and their Executive Director, Mary Ann Bush, for their leadership in promoting a healthy living environment for their residents. The federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in recent years has strongly encouraged housing authorities and other HUD-subsidized property owners to adopt smoke-free policies. Further, hundreds of thousands of apartment units of market-rate housing are now smoke-free in Michigan. “Clearly, smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing are rapidly becoming the norm in Michigan and across the nation,” said Bergman. To access a listing of all the housing authorities in the U.S. that have adopted smoke-free policies, click above.
11/22: The following is from a Nov. 17th piece in the Mining Gazette in Hancock, Michigan: With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is working to promote smoke-free policies in low-income and affordable housing in the Western U.P. "We know that most people aren't exposed to second-hand smoke at work, especially with the state law, but there are still people who are exposed to second-hand smoke in their apartments," said Prevention Specialist Gail Ploe. "There's not a way to keep the smoke from seeping in through the heating system and neighboring units. A lot of landlords aren't aware that they are legally able to adopt a smoke-free policy. It's not discriminatory and it's good for health and for business." The two-year stimulus funding grant is being used to assist property owners with adopting a smoke-free policy. Ploe said there are many advantages for landlords to adopt smoke-free policies. "Landlords really save a lot on rehabbing the apartment with cleaning and maintenance," she said. "They may even have a drop in their fire insurance." Hancock Housing Commission Executive Director Gail Ross said. "The cost effectiveness of adopting a smoke-free policy was a no-brainer." Rehab would cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for a unit that previously had a smoker. In May, the Hancock Housing Commission implemented a smoke-free policy at its 94-unit Lakeview Manor. The 24-unit Quincy Haven addition currently under construction will be completely smoke free when it opens in July of 2011. "I think it's a great choice, first and foremost for the residents' health," Ploe said, "and secondly, because it allows them (the housing commission) to keep doing their mission." To access the full article, click above.
11/4: The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project maintains an up-dated listing of all the public housing authorities/commissions in the U.S. that we know of which have adopted smoke-free policies for one or more of their apartment buildings. The listing is done largely in the order in which the policies have been adopted, and with data which is as accurate as we can make it, but we can't vouch for its total accuracy. As of October, 2010, at least 215 local housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their apartment buildings, with about 199 being adopted since the beginning of January, 2005; an average of about 2.8 per month. That constitutes an increase in the number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of about 1,200% in 70 months. The 27 states with such policies, with the number of individual local housing authorities with smoke-free policies in parentheses, include Michigan (49), Minnesota (34), Nebraska (24), Maine (20), Colorado (14), Washington (14), Oregon (14), New Hampshire (10), California (8), Alaska (4), Idaho (3), Utah (3), New Jersey (2), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (2), Florida, Montana, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, New York and Kansas. To access the list, click above.
11/2: According to a Nov. 1st press release from the Portland Housing Authority: At its October 7th meeting the Portland Housing Authority (PHA) Board of Commissioners approved a plan to make all its properties smoke-free as of July 1, 2011. The PHA owns and manages almost 1,000 public housing apartments in Portland. It is the largest landlord in the City. The PHA is one of the last public housing authorities in the state without a comprehensive smoke-free housing policy. There are 24 local housing authorities in Maine. PHA Executive Director, Mark Adelson, explains, “the Board’s support for this initiative is a proactive measure to improve the health of our residents around the problem of second hand smoke. Our residents, particularly those who are senior citizens, have disabilities, as well as the children in our family developments, are impacted the most by this problem. The Board felt strongly that this is an important public health issue that needs to be addressed. Approximately 70 percent of PHA residents and applicants for public housing are non-smokers. Their interests and health deserve this consideration. This does not mean our tenants can’t smoke, they just can’t smoke inside our buildings.” Furthermore, PHA is looking forward to saving on the cost of repairs and maintenance from the damage caused by secondhand smoke and cigarettes including burned flooring and countertops, and nicotine stained wall surfaces. Adelson admits this will be a management challenge for PHA. With 574 family apartments and 418 apartments for seniors and persons with disabilities, it will take a lot education, encouragement and oversight for successful implementation of the new policy. … PHA has received a lot of help and ideas from other housing authorities in the state and they’ll continue to receive assistance from groups like the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine and the City of Portland’s, Health & Human Services Department. … The approval to go smoke free also includes 100 State Street, the 169 unit property for seniors and persons with disabilities, which is owned by the PHA affiliate State Street Housing Preservation Corporation. For more on smoke-free housing in Maine, click above.
11/2: The following is from an Oct. 27th Daytona
Beach News-Journal article: No
Smoking signs are popping up at some apartment complexes and condos, barring
people from lighting up even in their own homes. And, in places
where smoking is permitted, tenants and owners are beginning to seek protection
from the secondhand smoke they say is seeping into their apartments.
"A lot of the demand is just coming from people realizing that
smoke doesn't stay in one unit," said Rita Turner, deputy director of the
Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation and Advocacy at the University of
Maryland Law School. "Buildings are designed to breathe."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says secondhand smoke can cause asthma, respiratory and ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, heart disease and lung cancer.
"There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke," the agency says on its website. Such concerns have led to efforts to ban smoking not only in common spaces of buildings but also in individual apartments. "It's something that is catching on," said Chip Tatum of the Florida Apartment Association. "It's something that will start slow and then explode when there are positive results. But right now, there is so much uncertainty that complexes are afraid to take the leap and possibly alienate any residents. Each one is critical right now." To access the full article, click above.
11/1: The following is from an October 30th Tobacco Control journal article: Background This study examined whether thirdhand smoke (THS) persists in smokers' homes after they move out and non-smokers move in, and whether new non-smoking residents are exposed to THS in these homes. Methods The homes of 100 smokers and 50 non-smokers were visited before the residents moved out. Dust, surfaces, air and participants' fingers were measured for nicotine and children's urine samples were analysed for cotinine. The new residents who moved into these homes were recruited if they were non-smokers. Dust, surfaces, air and new residents' fingers were examined for nicotine in 25 former smoker and 16 former non-smoker homes. A urine sample was collected from the youngest resident. Conclusions These findings indicate that THS accumulates in smokers' homes and persists when smokers move out even after homes remain vacant for 2 months and are cleaned and prepared for new residents. When non-smokers move into homes formerly occupied by smokers, they encounter indoor environments with THS polluted surfaces and dust. Results suggest that non-smokers living in former smoker homes are exposed to THS in dust and on surfaces. Click above for the full article.
10/28: The following is from an article of the above title in the Fall, 2010 issue of the Harvard Public Health Review: Welcome to the next front in the battle against Big Tobacco: public housing. Following the passage in 23 states of laws that ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars, anti-smoking advocates are increasingly training their sights on private spaces in public buildings. Last June, in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood, the Washington-Beech housing development became the city’s debut smoke-free public housing site—the first step toward the Boston’s Housing Authority’s ambitious goal of clearing the air by 2013 at all 64 public housing sites. And in 2009, an office within the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memorandum that “strongly encourages Public Housing Authorities … to implement nonsmoking policies in some or all of their public housing units. To be sure, the trend has sparked dissent. After all, smoking is legal for adults, and nicotine is known to be one of the hardest addictions to kick. Why should poor people be asked to give up smoking at home when rich people have the right to indulge this harmful vice? Is the intrusive government “nanny state,” as libertarians dub it, discriminating against those who are least powerful? A new wave of published papers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and elsewhere sheds light on why smoking should be banned in public housing, and how the policy question should be considered. … Experience in vanguard states like Maine, Michigan, and Massachusetts shows that when the public health community turns up the pressure—“helping, prodding, assisting”—the move towards smoke-free housing goes much faster, Bergman says. To access the full article, click above.
10/27: The following is from a journal abstract published recently: The home can represent a significant source of secondhand smoke (SHS), especially for individuals who live in close proximity to one another in multiunit housing (MUH). The objective of this study was to quantify real-time SHS transfer between smoke-permitted and smoke-free living units within the same MUH structure. Methods: Air monitors were used to assess PM2.5, an environmental marker for SHS, in 14 smoke-free living units and 16 smoke-permitted units within 11 MUH buildings in the Buffalo, New York, area between July 2008 and August 2009. Air monitors were operated concurrently in both smoke-permitted and smoke-free units within each building. When feasible, additional monitors were stationed in shared hallways and on outdoor patios. Participants completed logs to document activities that could affect air quality. … Conclusions: This study documents SHS incursions from smoke-permitted units into smoke-free units and adjacent hallways within the same building. Since many factors appear to impact the amount of SHS transfer between these areas, the implementation of a smoke-free building policy represents the most effective way to ensure that residents of MUH units are not exposed to SHS. To access the full abstract, click above.
10/26: The following is from an Oct. 25th Mercury News report: Santa Clara County supervisors gave preliminary unanimous approval to a package of new tobacco laws that are among the most comprehensive and restrictive in the nation. The board is expected to give final approval of most of the laws Nov. 9, and an ordinance governing tobacco retailers returns for a final vote Nov. 23. … The laws: Prohibit smoking in all units of apartments, condominiums and townhouses as well as in common-use areas of those complexes. … County officials said about 300 multifamily complexes with about 1,100 individual housing units are affected. … The rules for multiunit residences would take effect 15 months after final approval for existing homes. Residents caught smoking in their homes could face fines ranging from $100 to $500, with three or more violations in a year punishable as a misdemeanor. Click above for the full story.
10/25: The following is from an Oct. 19th State News article: Even after obtaining their license for medical marijuana, students still could see restrictions on their smoking — at home. The Property Management Association of Mid-Michigan and the Ingham County Health Department held discussions last week to explore options for tenants and landlords regarding medical marijuana. A smoke-free policy in rental properties is not discriminatory, even when it includes medical marijuana smoke, because it also affects other people’s health, said Marcus Cheatham, a public information officer with the Ingham County Health Department. “It’s interesting because as fewer and fewer adults smoke, complaints about secondhand smoke have increased,” Cheatham said. “(Landowners) originally responded with, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it, people have the right,’ but that’s actually not true because smoking affects other people’s rights.” Those with a medical marijuana license still can use the drug in a smoke-free manner, such as baking it into brownies, Cheatham said. Smoke-free apartments prohibit medical marijuana and cigarette smoke, he said. … Few East Lansing apartments and rental houses have joined the smoke-free trend, but those that have say it was for financial reasons. In addition to making cleanup cheaper, renters usually appreciate a smoke-free house, said property owner Mark Frantz, who owns a house on Cornell Avenue. “It’s dirty,” Frantz said. “It’s hard to clean up. It stinks. It’s harder to re-rent.” To access the full news article, click above. To access our SFELP analysis of medical marijuana and smoke-free policies, click here.
10/18: The following is from an October 18th Channel 6 news report: Smoking has been officially banned at the Baraga American Legion. Judge Charles Goodman granted the preliminary injunction late Monday morning requiring Post 444 to comply with the State's Smoke Free Air Act pending the outcome of their legal proceedings. In a six-page order explaining his decision Goodman finds the State is more likely to prove its case as "passed laws are presumed constitutional" and that the "Legislature has the authority to pass which limit people's exposure to health hazards." The decision also required Goodman to weigh the harm to the Post in granting the injunction versus the harm to the public in not granting the injunction. Goodman decided there was more harm in not granting the injunction, because "harm to the public is presumed when a law which has been properly enacted is not followed," and what's more, not granting the injunction could cause more businesses or groups to violate the law. Goodman's order is effective immediately. Click above to access the news story.
10/15: The following is from an Oct. 14th Channel 6 news report from Lansing, Michigan: The state laws on medical marijuana have landlords in mid-Michigan confused. That's because many of them don't know how it applies to their no smoking rules. For many smoking tenants in Michigan the days of lighting a cigaratte inside their place could soon be over. That's as more landlords consider making their property smoke free. "It will better both our buildings, and also provide a better environment and more healthy homes for our residents," said Forrest Babcock, Lansing Housing Commission. Thursday the Property Management Association of Mid-Michigan and the Ingham County Health Department told landlords they have the right to set these rules even if those include legalized medical marijuana. "As a number of people said to me, we don't want to be showing our apartment to a prospective resident, and have them smell marijuana in the hallways. That is not a selling point for us," said Jim Bergman, Smoke-Free Environments Law Project. Selling point or not, advocates for medical marijuana say these measures are not fair. Some argue that it's people's medicine. And if the law allows it then it's their right. "If people are paying to stay at a place, that's their home. I feel that if it's your home, then you should be able to do what you vote to do. And one of them is medical marijuana," said Danny Trevino, Hydroworld. It's a battle that could have legal consequences and one which Bergman says landlords would win. "State law says you can be certified to use marijuana for medicinal reasons. However, federal law still says marijuana is a controlled substance which is illegal. And no question about it, federal law trumps state law," said Bergman. That has yet to be tested. Until then smoking tenants can breathe easy. If you're a landlord or tenant and want to know more about smoke free apartments you can visit www.mismokefreeapartment.org. Click above to access the full story.
10/12: The following is from a Channel 6 news story that ran in Escanaba on Oct. 11th: Hundreds of thousands of apartment complexes across the state are now smoke free. Those with the Smoke-free Environmental Law Project want to see more, especially in affordable housing. Project Director, James Bergman, was traveling through the U.P. last week to talk with landlords as well as housing managers about going smoke free. He visited Escanaba's West Highland Apartments, which recently restricted smoking. Since the campaign began, Bergman says smoke-free complexes were few and far between. Now, he says numbers continue to grow, but only about 15-20 percent in the U.P. are smoke free. Bergman feels it's both a healthier and financial step forward. "This makes a lot of sense, dollars and cents. Turning over an apartment unit that's had a smoker in it versus an apartment without a smoker can cost an additional thousand, 5,000 to 6,000 dollars," said Bergman. Public Health of Delta and Menominee Counties has been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help affordable low income dwellings adopt smoke-free policies. Click above to access the full story.
10/11: The following is from an Oct. 8th Mining Gazette news story in Michigan: Michigan has a law prohibiting the smoking of tobacco in all public spaces, but now there's a movement to ban smoking in apartment buildings in the state, both public and private. Jim Bergman, who is an attorney and founder and director of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project in Ann Arbor, was touring the Upper Peninsula to discuss the effort to make apartments smoke free this week, and he stopped Wednesday at the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department main office in Hancock. Bergman said in 2005, the public housing commission in Cadillac was the first in Michigan to establish a smoke-free policy for its units, and in 2006, the Sault Ste. Marie Housing Commission was the first in the U.P. to make its apartments smoke free. Now, there are 45 smoke-free housing commissions in the state with such a policy, including 10 in the U.P., and the number is growing rapidly. Although there was considerable resistance for years to the idea of a smoke-free public-places policy for the entire state, Bergman said the resistance for such policies in public housing doesn't seem to be very strong. "Generally, people follow these policies," he said. Bergman said that compliance may come from the fact that 80 percent of adults don't smoke, and 90 percent of seniors don't smoke. To access the full article, click above.
10/11: The following is from an October 11th Daily Press article in Escanaba, Michigan: Under an initiative funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, Public Health Delta-Menominee Counties (PHDM) is working to promote smoke-free affordable multi-unit housing. As part of its effort, PHDM sponsored a visit to Escanaba by James Bergman, co-director of the Center for Social Gerontology. Bergman is also the director of Smoke-free Environmental Law Projects, based in Lansing. Bergman was in Escanaba Friday to meet with the local landlords association, providing information on how to convert rental units to non-smoking units. His presentation also included implementation and enforcement of the non-smoking initiative. Bergman said complaints regarding second-hand smoke from multi-unit housing complexes were received beginning in 2001-02. Many of the complaints involved second-hand smoke coming into the apartment of a non-smoking resident. … "Back about six years ago in 2004, you could not find any smoke-free apartments in the Upper Peninsula, while today there are literally thousands of smoke-free units available across the state," said Bergman. To access the full article, click above.
10/7: The following is from an October 5th TV6 Marquette, Michigan news report: With the recent laws against smoking publicly in Michigan, there's now a push to eliminate it from private rental properties. The Marquette County Health Department held an informational meeting for landlords on how to make their housing units smoke free. The meeting was hosted by Jim Bergman, the director of the Smoke Free Environments Law Project, based out of Ann Arbor. Bergman states, although there has been tremendous strides in making Upper Michigan smoke free, most landlords are misinformed or unaware of the laws regarding smoking. "Back in 2004 what we found was that most landlords thought that, in fact, it was not legal to have a smoke-free policy," said Bergman. "They felt it was a form of discrimination against smokers; quite the contrary, it's totally legal to have a policy. It's not life, liberty, and the pursuit of smoking." If you are a landlord and would like more information on how to make your units smoke free, you can contact your local health department. Click above to access both the video and print news reports.
9/22: The following is from Law.com: If you can smell it, it can hurt you. That contention has churned up debate among condominium owners over the right to smoke cigarettes in one's own unit versus a neighbor's right to breathe clean air. Lawsuits are being filed around the nation, and some attorneys who represent Florida condominium associations say the issue could soon be coming to a court here. Coral Gables real estate agent Ana Anderson moved out of her Silver Palms condo last month because her neighbors' smoke was seeping into her walls and through her ventilation system. Minimally, Anderson wants to recoup the cost of medical bills, sealing off her apartment from smoke, and wages lost due to illness. She also wants Silver Palms to become a smoke-free building. She said she will sue if she has to and is in the process of hiring attorneys who are well-versed in the issues. Anderson now lives in the in-law quarters of a house she owns. It is smoke-free and she has control over the environment. To access the full article, click above.
9/20: On September 15th, the HUD Multi-Family Housing section issued a Notice in which they encouraged owners and management agents of HUD Multi-Family Housing rental assistance programs, such as Section 8, to adopt and implement smoke-free policies for some or all their properties. The Notice provides guidance to owners and managers on how to implement such policies. The Notice tells owners and managers to implement smoke-free policies by updating their House Rules. This Notice is similar to one HUD issued on July 17, 2009 to public and Indian housing authorities and demonstrates HUD's commitment to protecting the health of residents. To access a copy of the HUD Notice, click above.
9/17: According to a Sept. 15th Bloomberg News report: New York City would expand its ban on smoking in indoor workplaces to outdoor venues including public parks and beaches under a proposed law backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council leaders. The mayor, joined by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and representatives from the American Cancer Society, said the bill would extend the Smoke Free Air Act, a 2002 law that banned smoking from offices, bars, restaurants and playgrounds in an effort to protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand exposure. “The science is clear: prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke -- whether you’re indoors or out -- hurts your health,” Bloomberg said in remarks prepared for a City Hall news conference. “Today, we’re doing something about it.” The mayor, 68, has targeted tobacco use as both a public official and philanthropist, with restrictive city laws, a combined $4.50-per-pack state and city tax increase, and at least $375 million in private donations to worldwide smoking cessation programs since 2005. In 2008, a city Health Department survey found that the measures had helped reduce cigarette smoking among teenagers by half, to about one out of 12 high school students, compared with 23 percent nationally. To access the full article, click above.
9/10: At the 2010 Fall Conference of NAHRO-Michigan, SFELP’s Jim Bergman gave a presentation titled Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing: Changing the Landscape of Michigan & America. The presentation and the accompanying PowerPoint provided information about the dramatic changes that have occurred in the past decade in smoke-free housing nationally and in Michigan, particularly related to public housing and other affordable housing. It also presented information on how and why to go smoke-free and included many slides of public housing and other affordable housing entities that have smoke-free policies. There is also one slide that includes info from the CDC research released on Sept. 7, 2010 on the % of nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke. You can view and download the PowerPoint presentation titled Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing: Changing the Landscape of Michigan & America and you can also view and download a pdf version by clicking above. You can also access the ppt and pdf versions directly.
Cook Inlet Housing’s Centennial Village Grows to Meet Alaskan Seniors’ Housing Needs, Eklutna Estates Grand Opening as a Smoke-Free Building is August 3rd; Starting September 1, 2010 All CIHA Buildings Will Begin Becoming Totally Smoke-Free
9/8: The following is from a press release from Cook Inlet Housing Authority in Alaska: Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) will celebrate the grand opening of Eklutna Estates, located at 8850 Centennial Circle on Tuesday, August 3rd at 1:30 p.m. Eklutna Estates is a fifty-nine unit facility located within CIHA’s existing senior community, Centennial Village, in east Anchorage. Eklutna Estates consists of 46 one-bedroom/one-bath units and 13 two-bedroom/two-bath units and is open to Alaskans aged 55 and older. Eklutna Estates is a mixed-income property with most rental units available based on income eligibility guidelines and a limited number of units available at market rate without income restrictions. … CIHA is proud to announce that Eklutna Estates is a smokefree building. “More and more Alaskans want to live in a smokefree environment,” says Carol Gore, President and CEO of CIHA. “It is our goal to provide quality, affordable and healthy homes.” The Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance will present CIHA with a Letter of Commendation for their efforts in providing healthy housing options. This is CIHA’s first smokefree property. As of September 1 CIHA will implement a smokefree housing policy in all of our properties – all new leases will be smokefree and expired leases will become smokefree as they come up for renewal. To access the full press release, click above.
9/8: The following is from a Sept. 7th Morbidity & Mortality Report article: Secondhand smoke exposure has declined in the United States, but 88 million nonsmokers aged ≥3 years are still exposed, progress in reducing exposure has slowed, and disparities in exposure persist, with children being among the most exposed. Nearly all nonsmokers who live with someone who smokes inside their home are exposed to secondhand smoke. The only way to protect nonsmokers fully is to eliminate smoking in indoor spaces. Continued efforts at smoking cessation and comprehensive statewide laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces and public places are needed to ensure that all nonsmokers are protected from this serious health hazard. Health-care providers should educate patients and parents about the dangers of secondhand smoke and follow clinical care guidelines to help smokers quit. … The overall prevalence of serum cotinine concentrations ≥0.05 ng/mL among the nonsmoking population fell from 52.5% (CI = 47.1%--57.9%) during 1999--2000 to 40.1% (CI = 35.0%--45.3%) during 2007--2008 (Table 1). However, the decline occurred only among the subset of the nonsmoking population that did not live with someone who smoked inside the home. The decline was significant for each sex, age, race/ethnicity, and income group studied except non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence fluctuated from cycle to cycle rather than showing a consistent decline; the greatest decline (10.8% percentage points) occurred from 1999--2000 to 2001--2002. For every survey cycle, a significantly higher prevalence of cotinine concentrations ≥0.05 ng/mL was observed among males than among females, among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans, among children aged 3--11 years and youths aged 12--19 years than among adults aged ≥20 years, and among those below the federal poverty level than among those at or above the poverty level. During 2007--2008, approximately 88 million nonsmokers aged ≥3 years in the United States were exposed to secondhand smoke (CI = 76 million--99 million) (Table 2). Of these, 32 million were aged 3--19 years, reflecting the higher prevalence of exposure among children and youths. Similarly, among nonsmoking adults, the prevalence of exposure decreased with age so that there were approximately 21--22 million exposed persons in each of the 20--39 year and 40--59 year age groups and approximately 14 million exposed persons in the ≥60 year age group. Children and nonsmoking youths were more likely than nonsmoking adults to live with someone who smoked inside the home. For the full report, click above.
9/2: The following is from an August 29th Seattle Times news report: The fight over smoking restrictions in Washington state has moved from bars and office buildings to private residences. The News Tribune reports that a group called People United for Smoke-Free Housing (PUSH) has asked the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board to classify secondhand smoke as a "nuisance" in multi-unit housing, because smoke can seep from one apartment to another and bother other residents. That could allow landlords to evict people for smoking. The proposal, which backers hope to have inserted into the state's landlord-tenant law, is one of dozens of attempts in communities around the country to extend no-smoking restrictions to rental housing. "This is the last piece of the puzzle that needs to be placed," said Nan Hogan of University Place, who helped write the proposed legislation. "We've got smoke-free motel rooms, smoke-free restaurants, smoke-free bars, smoke-free office buildings and even prisons. Why should we go home and have to breathe it there?" PUSH wants the board to pass the proposal, so it then can use it as ammunition in efforts to make a statewide change in the law. To access the full story, click above.
8/17: We're very pleased to report that the Detroit Housing Commission — Michigan’s largest public housing authority — adopted a smoke-free policy for all its multi-family properties. The smoke-free policy goes into effect for all residents — no grandfathering — on January 1, 2011 in all its 15 properties with a total of 2,118 units. The policy covers 10 elderly buildings with 1,440 units and 5 family buildings with 678 units. Smoking will only be allowed in outdoor designated smoking areas, if any. The Detroit Housing Commission will provide assistance to residents to quit smoking. It has been our pleasure to assist the Detroit Housing Commission in adopting this policy. Michigan now has 42 housing commissions with smoke-free policies for some or all their properties. The policies cover about 85 apartment buildings/developments and over 384 townhouses/scattered site units, with about 7,744 total apartment units. Three of the largest housing commissions in Michigan now have adopted smoke-free policies — Grand Rapids with about 900 units, Detroit with 2,118 units, and Lansing with 834 units. Nationally, there are now at least 179 local housing authorities that have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their properties. Among the largest housing authorities to have adopted smoke-free policies for almost all their properties are the 3 three Michigan ones named above; Portland, Oregon with 1,993 units covered and may be adding 3,760 units soon; and Everett, Washington with 1,047 units to be smoke-free in June, 2011. Other large housing authorities that have adopted smoke-free policies, but only for a few of their properties or are phasing in the smoke-free policies over the next few years include: Minneapolis, Boston, Denver, and Seattle. To access an updated listing of all the housing authorities we know of with smoke-free policies, click above.
8/17: The following is from an August 15th Detroit Free Press article: The veterans at the American Legion Post 444 see it as pretty straightforward. Smoking tobacco is legal. They own, run and risk failure at their post's tavern in tiny Baraga at the base of the Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula. So they get to decide whether patrons get to smoke. That wasn't an issue before May 1, when a statewide ban on smoking in places of employment took effect (with a few, minor exceptions and one major one: Detroit's three casinos). Now Foucault-Funke Post 444, where the ashtrays never came off the tables and smokers line the bar each afternoon and evening, is at the center of what could be a decisive showdown for the new state law and -- as the vets see it -- for the individual liberty and self-government they fought to defend. Earlier this month, the post sued the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department to strike down as unconstitutional the department's order to end indoor smoking. To access the full article, click above.
7/28: The following is from a July 27th Boston Globe report: Meena Carr figured out years ago why her young grandson, Malik, was chronically coughing and wheezing: Her home made him sick. Carr, 69, didn’t smoke cigarettes, but some of her neighbors in the Washington-Beech housing development did, often in the hallway. The smell permeated Carr’s apartment. Last month, Washington-Beech in Roslindale became the city's first smoke-free public housing development. Today, Carr plans to join other community leaders, public officials, and housing advocates to discuss the Boston Housing Authority’s more ambitious long-term objective -- clearing the air by 2013 at all 64 public housing developments. That positions Boston to become the first city in Massachusetts, and perhaps the largest housing authority nationwide, to impose such a ban. Under the proposal, still in its initial stages, about 27,000 residents in 12,000 units would be prohibited from smoking in common areas and their own apartments. "This new initiative will go a long way to encourage more healthy living styles for our residents," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who earlier this year unveiled the plan to make housing developments smoke free. "You don't live in a single-family home, you are in multiunit housing," Menino said. "What you do there has an effect on all other folks living in that building." Today's meeting at Suffolk University is being billed by officials as a "summit" to launch the campaign. Details, including how a ban would be phased in and how violators would be punished, are still unclear. Housing officials say the process will include community debate and a public comment period. By January, they hope to submit a proposal to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nationwide, about 170 public housing authorities -- roughly 5 percent -- have instituted some kind of no-smoking policy in the past few years, according to the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project in Michigan, a nonprofit that tracks the issue. But so far none as large as Boston’s has implemented the ban, making the city a leader if it moves more quickly than other authorities of similar size. Click above for the full story.
7/28: Illinois and New York state now both have a local housing authority that has adopted a smoke-free policy. That provides another milestone -- 25 of the 50 states now have at least one local housing authority with a smoke-free policy for some or all their buildings. Seven of the top 8 states in population have at least one local housing authority with a smoke-free policy. Well over 50% of the nation’s population resides in those 25 states. The city of Gloversville Housing Authority in New York state adopted a tobacco-free policy that will go into effect September 1, 2010. The Housing Authority adopted the new policy in May. All residents will be covered by the policy on September 1st, and all of the buildings will be tobacco free. As of July, 2010, at least 171 local housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their apartment buildings, with about 157 being adopted since the beginning of January, 2005; an average of over 2.3 per month. That constitutes an increase in the number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of over 1,000% in 67 months. The 25 states with such policies, with the number of individual local housing authorities with smoke-free policies in parentheses, include Michigan (40), Minnesota (33), Maine (19), Colorado (14), Oregon (11), Washington (8), California (8), Nebraska (6), New Hampshire (5), Alaska (4), Idaho (3), Utah (3), New Jersey (2), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (2), Florida, Montana, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois and New York. To access the listing of all 171 in pdf format, click above.
7/26: On July 21st, the West Branch Housing Corporation (WBHC) became the 40th housing commission in Michigan to adopt a smoke-free policy. The WBHC board approved a smoke-free policy for all 87 units of senior housing in their Victorian Trails and Maplewood Manor apartment buildings. The policy goes into effect on August 1st for all new residents and all WBHC staff. Current residents who are smokers have a temporary exemption from the policy until January 1, 2011, when the buildings will become totally smoke-free. It has been a pleasure working with WBHC Executive Director Stacy Alley on the development and adoption of this policy. WBHC joins 39 other Michigan housing commissions which have adopted smoke-free policies – the largest number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of any of the 50 states. These 40 housing commission smoke-free policies cover about 66 apartment buildings and over 134 townhouses/scattered site units with about 4,800 total apartment units. To view the Maplewood Manor property, click above.
7/26: The following is from a July 20th Cheboygan News article: Smoke-free housing units could be available for tribal members in St. Ignace, just as they are at Kincheloe, said a spokesperson for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. "We're hoping so," said Michelle Bouschor of the tribe's public relations office. "The goal is to move forward with this policy to change over as many as possible. Keeping members healthy is a priority." On Monday, the Sault Tribe became the first tribe in Michigan -- and the fifth in the nation -- to establish smoke-free housing units for tribal members. Four duplex units housing eight tribal families were opened by the Sault Tribe Housing Authority. Additional smoke-free housing units will be established in future years under a new policy adopted earlier this year by the tribe's Housing Authority Committee. To access the article, click above.
7/26: The following is from a July 21st Press Democrat article: The Sebastopol City Council voted Tuesday to ban cigarette smoking in multi-unit dwellings, while preserving the right to consume medical marijuana in such abodes. It's something out of "1984," George Orwell's famous story of government run amok, said Ranta, who lives in Bear Meadows Townhomes on Bodega Avenue. "That's Big Brother talking," he said. "You're taking rights away from a person." Not so, says Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer, one of the main champions of the change. She's said the restrictions -- which passed unanimously -- are about giving rights to children, not taking rights. ... In California, only the city of Belmont has an ordinance as broad as Sebastopol's, although Rohnert Park will have a smoking prohibition in half of that city's apartments that takes effect next year. To access the full article, click above.
7/21: The following is from a July 20th EUPNews report: The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has become the first tribe in Michigan -- and fifth in the nation -- to establish smoke-free housing units for tribal members. The Sault Tribe Housing Authority today celebrated the opening of smoke-free homes for eight tribal families (four duplex units) in Kincheloe, Mich. Additional smoke-free housing units will be established in future years, under a new policy adopted earlier this year by the Sault Tribe Housing Authority Commission. "Providing a healthy living environment for tribal members is our main goal," said Sault Tribe Housing Director Joni Talentino. "We want to give our members the opportunity to join the nationwide movement toward becoming smoke free." All of the smoke-free units are full. To access the full story, click above.
7/21: The following is from a July 19th Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin editorial: If you smoke, live with a smoker or in an apartment complex where some residents smoke, here are some points to ponder. ? The United States Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, says residential fires caused by smoking kill 700-900 people in the United States each year. ? A fire caused by careless smoking is nearly four times as likely to result in a fatality, and 25 percent of those who die each year in smoking-related fires are NOT the actual smoker. ? In 2006, there were 67 smoking-related fires in multi-unit residential properties in Minnesota. ? One smoking-related fire in Burnsville in 2007 resulted in $1.5 million in damage to an apartment complex, and residents suffered an $800,000 property loss. So it is that we applaud the decision by Fontaine Towers and Central Towers in Rochester to phase in an outright ban on smoking inside their buildings, which are home to people who are 62 or older or disabled. The new policies, strongly endorsed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, make a ton of sense. It's hard to imagine a worse fire situation in Rochester than a 15-story building that's occupied primarily by people who would require assistance in escaping. Any step that can be taken to prevent such a fire is worth taking. But there are many other reasons to embrace these new rules. Cigarette smoke is bad for both the smoker and those nearby, and we believe every resident of a publicly-funded housing facility should have the right to breathe smoke-free air. When those residents are elderly or have physical disabilities, that right becomes even more important. Insurance rate change? Encourage by fire department? Easier to rent? Furthermore, we're not thrilled with idea that some of the tax dollars we send to Washington are used to subsidize housing for people who smoke. It's expensive to clean an apartment after a smoker has occupied it, and frankly, if someone's income is low enough to require subsidized housing, perhaps they shouldn't be buying cigarettes. So, if anyone cares to float the idea that smoking should be banned from all public housing complexes, count us in. To access the editorial, click above.
7/20: The following is from a July 20th SooToday.com news story: The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has become the first tribe in Michigan - and fifth in the nation - to establish smoke-free housing units for tribal members. The Sault Tribe Housing Authority today celebrated the opening of smoke-free homes for eight tribal families (four duplex units) in Kincheloe, Michigan. Additional smoke-free housing units will be established in future years, under a new policy adopted earlier this year by the Sault Tribe Housing Authority Commission. "Providing a healthy living environment for tribal members is our main goal," said Sault Tribe Housing Director Joni Talentino. "We want to give our members the opportunity to join the nationwide movement toward becoming smoke-free." All of the smoke-free units are full. Starting in November 2008, as an initiative of the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project, the Sault Tribe Tobacco Task Force, the Sault Tribe Housing Authority, the Sault Tribal Youth Council, the Chippewa County Tobacco-Free Living Coalition, the Smoke-free Environments Law Project and the Michigan Department of Community Health worked together to adopt the policy and establish the smoke-free housing units. Other supporters of the policy included the Tribal Youth Council and smoke-free environments. "Many tribal and non-tribal entities worked hard on obtaining this status," said Donna Norkoli, project coordinator of the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project. "It truly could not have been done without these partnerships." The Sault Tribe Housing Authority joins nine other local housing commissions in the U.P. who have adopted smoke-free policies. "Of 11 tribal housing authorities in Michigan, the Sault Tribe has taken the lead in adopting a smoke-free policy," said Jim Bergman of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project. "Hopefully, other tribes will soon follow the Sault Tribe’s leadership role." ... The Sault Tribe Housing Authority manages more than 500 housing units across the Upper Peninsula. To access the news story, click above.
7/7: The following is from a July 5th WTMJ Radio story: A handful of patrons sat at the bar in Steny's Tavern Monday night. They drank and talked about another Brewer's loss. That activity took place in an environment of unspoiled air. There was no smoke, not so much as a scent of nicotine. It was day one of Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban. "I love not smelling like smoke in the morning when I wake up," said Ryan Stenstrup as he looked up at the television monitors to relive the woeful outing by his beloved Brewers. After pausing to watch the replay of a Brewer's strikeout, Ryan chimed in again. "We'll see how people will like going outside when it's twenty below zero or something like that," he said with a knowing smile. Bar manager Laura Jean Gwiazdowski is entirely optimistic. "I really don't see it hurting business," she said conclusively. "I've had customers that say they're going to come back more and bring their families in for dinner because there's no smoking." Smoker Sam Zevnik was able to sit comfortably at the bar with his friends without puffing Monday night. TODAY'S TMJ4 asked if he might quit his habit because of the ban. "I could definitely see that happening," he said. "Because the only time I want to smoke is when I'm drinking in a bar." Click above for full article.
7/1: The following is from a June 30th Fact Sheet from the U.S. Surgeon General's office: Chronic diseases -- such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes -- are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation's health spending. Often due to economic, social, and physical factors, too many Americans engage in behaviors -- such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse -- that lead to poor health. A focus on prevention will offer our nation the opportunity to not only improve the health of Americans but also help reduce health care costs and improve quality of care. By concentrating on the underlying drivers of chronic disease, the Affordable Care Act helps us move from today's sick-care system to a true "health care" system that encourages health and well-being. The Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama creates a National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. The Council, composed of senior government officials, will elevate and coordinate prevention activities and design a focused National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy in conjunction with communities across the country to promote the nation's health. The Strategy will take a community health approach to prevention and well-being -- identifying and prioritizing actions across government and between sectors. On June 10, the President signed an Executive Order creating the National Prevention Council. Established within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Council is chaired by the U.S. Surgeon General. Click above to access the full Fact Sheet. To access the Council's report in pdf format, click here.
6/21: According to a June 21st Detroit Press report: More than 75 percent of people surveyed by the state Department of Community Health favored Michigan's smoking ban, according to results of a study released this morning. Researchers with the agency completed the public opinion survey before the law, which bans smoking in bars, restaurants and other public venues, went into affect May 1. The survey of 10,030 people was distributed to clients receiving services at local health departments in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties between March 1 and April 23. Among those participating, 88 percent thought that secondhand smoke was a serious health threat to nonsmokers. Nonsmokers were significantly more supportive of the law than smokers. About 87 percent of participants were aware that all bars and restaurants would be smoke-free starting May 1. Overall, 89.5 percent of those surveyed reported they would go out to eat more often or would not change if smoking were prohibited in restaurants and bars. "The results of the survey indicate strong support for the smoke-free law prior to implementation," Teri Wilson, a Consultant with the MDCH Tobacco Section, said in a press release. "The good news for the economy is that almost 90 percent of participants indicated they would go out to eat more often or just as often as they did prior to Michigan being smoke-free." The results belie comments from some bar and restaurant owners who say the smoking ban has hurt their business. Click above for full story.
6/17: The following is from a June 16th CNN report: Between puffs of his cigarette, Aristo Lizica explains why he's all for a smoking ban in public housing -- including his own housing project on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "When you smoke indoors, it hurts everybody," the 59-year-old says, leaning against an iron fence outside his building. "It's better for me to just make myself sick." Lizica would prefer to avoid making himself sick too, of course. "I want to quit," he adds. "I know cigarettes are bad for my health." Yet he remains unable to kick the habit. Federal housing officials are trying to help people like Lizica -- and his neighbors -- by making public housing smoke-free. Full or partial smoking bans would reduce secondhand smoke drifting between apartments, prevent cigarette-related fires, and even help smokers quit, they argue. "We see it as a win-win for both residents and housing authorities," says Donna White, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency that oversees public housing. In a 2009 memo, the department highlighted the dangers that indoor smoking poses to the nation's 2.1 million public housing residents, and "strongly encouraged" local housing authorities to implement smoking restrictions. But doing so remains voluntary, and so far only about 4 percent of local authorities have taken the step. "Change is hard," White says. Public health experts are hoping to light a fire under the cause. In a paper published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of researchers and attorneys from Harvard University argue that the health and safety gains of a smoking ban in housing projects would far outweigh the losses, which some say would include the privacy rights of smokers. Yet smokers like Lizica could prove to be the biggest winners, the authors suggest. "If federal officials and public housing authorities take this cue, we can expect to have large numbers of people quit smoking," says the lead author of the article, Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., a pediatrician and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. "That could be the single greatest health benefit." Click above for the full CNN article. To access the full NEJM article, click here.
6/11: We at the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP) are pleased to release a new document by SFELP Consulting Attorney Cliff Douglas, J.D., titled Restricting the Use of Medical Marijuana in Multi-Unit Residential Settings: Legal and Practical Considerations. This may be one of the first such analyses done anywhere in the U.S., and, while it focuses on Michigan's Medical Marihuana Act, it has great relevance for other states (at least 13 to 15 states have such laws). We have now added a section to the Landlord Rights page of the MISmokeFreeApartment web site where you can access the analysis. At that site, you can also access a copy of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and a copy of a 1999 HUD legal memorandum on this topic. The analysis is 12 pages, but the introduction is just one page, and it summarizes the question addressed -- Do multi-unit residential property owners have the authority to prohibit the smoking of marijuana in their properties when the individual marijuana user is authorized by the state of Michigan to user it? -- and provides answers to that question for both market-rate properties and for affordable housing, including public housing. Our conclusion is that owners may prohibit the smoking of marijuana, including medical marijuana, in their properties. We addressed this issue because many multi-unit residential property owners, including housing authorities, who had adopted overall smoke-free policies, wanted to know how they would deal with individuals who are licensed by the state to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. We encourage you to go to the site and download copies of the analysis and the HUD memorandum. Also, feel free to do a link to the page from your own web sites. To access the analysis and 1999 HUD memorandum, click above.
6/9: The following is from a June 7th Harvard School of Public Health press release: Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that children and adolescents living in non-smoking homes in counties with laws promoting smoke-free public places have significantly lower levels of a common biomarker of secondhand smoke exposure than those living in counties with no smoke-free laws. The children living in non-smoking homes in U.S. counties with smoke-free laws had 39% lower prevalence of cotinine in their blood, an indicator of tobacco smoke exposure, compared to those living in counties with no smoke-free laws. Children living in homes with smokers exhibited little or no benefit from the smoke-free laws. The study appears in the June 7, 2010 advance online edition of the journal Pediatrics. "The findings suggest that smoke-free laws are an effective strategy to protect both children and adults from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, interventions designed to reduce or prevent adults from smoking around children are needed," said Melanie Dove, who received her doctorate in environmental health at HSPH in 2010 and led the study. ... Over the past decade the number of state and local smoke-free laws in the nation has grown significantly. For example, the number of smoke-free laws in workplaces, restaurants and bars in the U.S. has increased from 0 in 1988 to 175 in 2006. "These laws have been shown to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke among adults. Our results show a similar association in children and adolescents not living with a smoker in the home," said Gregory Connolly, senior author of the paper and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH. Douglas Dockery, professor of environmental epidemiology and chair of the Department of Environmental Health, also was a study author. ... Approximately 20 percent of the youth in the HSPH study lived with a smoker in the home. These children had the highest cotinine levels and could benefit the most from an intervention to reduce exposure, regardless of smoke-free laws that might be in place, say the researchers. "One way to reduce or prevent adults from smoking around children is for physicians to counsel parents to stop smoking," said Connolly. Click above to access the full press release.
6/8: According to a June 7th Detroit News article: The Big House will be smoke free. University of Michigan officials announced Monday that Michigan Stadium will be a smoke-free zone when football season opens this fall. The opener is set for Sept. 4 against Connecticut. In the past, smoking had been allowed on the concourse of the stadium. Athletic director Dave Brandon said the change is going into effect ahead of when the entire campus becomes smoke-free in 2011. Smoking already was banned in the Ann Arbor stadium's seated-bowl area. "We have allowed individuals to smoke on the concourse in the past but with the new renovations and the university's commitment to become a smoke-free campus in 2011, we decided it was in the best interest of everyone to institute the change now," Brandon said. "The move will ensure a healthier environment for all fans attending Wolverine football games." In all, more than 260 campuses in the United States and elsewhere have gone smoke-free. Click above to access the article.
5/27: The Montcalm County Housing Commission (MCHC), on May 25th, adopted a smoke-free policy for all its 20 units of elderly/disabled housing and its 20 units of scattered site family duplexes and houses. The policy goes into effect on June 1st for all current residents who are not smokers, all guests, all staff, and all new residents. Current residents who are smokers can have a temporary exemption from the smoke-free policy until December 1, 2010, at which time they will also have to smoke outdoors. The SFELP is pleased to have been able to work with Mary Ellen Yost, the MCHC Executive Director, on this policy. Montcalm becomes the 38th housing commission in Michigan to have adopted a smoke-free policy. There are now at least 4,474 units of public housing covered by these policies in Michigan. About 27% of the 136 housing commissions in Michigan now have smoke-free policies. In June, 2005, there were none with smoke-free policies. There are now at least 166 housing authorities in the U.S. with smoke-free policies for some or all their housing. To access a listing of those housing authorities with smoke-free policies, click above.
5/12: On May 11th, HHS Secretary Sebelius announced a major new initiative to prevent and reduce tobacco use and its effects. Her web site states: Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general. Quitting smoking has both immediate and long-term benefits for you and your loved ones. Despite progress in reducing tobacco use, more than 20% of Americans still smoke and smoking rates that have been falling for decades have now stalled. The good news is that we know what it will take to get those numbers dropping again – comprehensive, sustained, and accountable tobacco control efforts based on evidence-based interventions. We have identified the following set of actions to accelerate our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. To go to the web site, click above.
5/11: The following is from a may 6th Solana Beach Sun news story: If history is any indication, smokers in Solana Beach could soon be facing another pack of extinguishing restrictions. In 1993, the city became the first to outlaw smoking in restaurants. In 2001, Solana Beach was the first to ban lighting-up on beaches. Later this month, it will consider how much staff time to invest in researching the possibilities of a variety of tools that could make it the first in the county to limit smoking in apartments or multi-unit housing. Currently El Cajon is the only city in San Diego County that extends its public smoking ban to common areas of apartment buildings. It does not, however, limit use in apartments themselves. Thought of by many as a champion of anti-smoking legislation, Solana Beach was one of only 15 cities in California last year to receive an overall "B" grade in the American Lung Association's anti-smoking annual report card. Just four out of the more than 400 jurisdictions assessed in the state received "A's". The reason the top grade is so rare is that cities must take steps to limit smoking in apartment buildings, which is controversial and can be hard to enforce. ... The city council could consider a resolution requiring a certain percentage of apartments in each building to be non-smoking, or even one defining secondhand smoke as a "public nuisance," enabling someone to sue if an issue becomes irresolvable. Click above for the full article.
5/6: The following is from a May 4th San Francisco Chronicle article: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill Monday that would have prohibited smoking at nearly all state beaches and parks, saying the law would have been too intrusive and would not have done much to curb litter on California's shoreline. The groundbreaking legislation would have created the nation's most far-reaching smoking ban in a state that already restricts people from lighting up in cars with children, restaurants and bars. State Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, who authored the bill, said Schwarzenegger's veto stands in "stark contrast to what is already being done at more than 100 local cities and counties statewide," including smoking bans at beaches and parks controlled by local jurisdictions. Oropeza and other supporters said the bill was necessary to cut down on litter, secondhand smoke and forest fires at the 278 parks and 64 beaches owned by the state. "I'm sorry the governor did not agree with this widely supported effort to increase public awareness about the environmental threats carelessly tossed cigarettes are doing to our marine life and to the great outdoors," Oropeza said in a written statement. But Schwarzenegger - whose cigar habit is well known - wrote in his one-page veto message that Senate Bill 4 was an "improper intrusion of government into people's lives." Noting that he has supported other smoking bans, the governor nonetheless said that Oropeza's bill "crosses an important threshold between state power and command and local decision making. Click above for full article.
5/6: The following is from a May 4th Daily Democrat article: Winters city officials have taken a proactive step by passing a resolution encouraging the housing complexes designate at least half of their property as smoke-free. The city is the second municipality in Yolo County to pass this resolution, following Woodland which passed it in April 2008. As many California cities debate laws to ban smoking in outdoor and indoor spaces, more and more Yolo County multi-unit housing complexes are going smoke-free. At least 16 Yolo County multi-unit housing complexes restrict smoking in at least 50 percent of individual units according to the Smoke-Free Apartments Project of the Yolo County Health Department, according to the Yolo County Health Department. A 2009 survey of Woodland residents showed that 79 percent of respondents agree that apartment complexes should have 50 percent of the units smoke-free by law. "It is wonderful that the Winters City Council is working with the Smoke-Free Apartments Project to encourage apartment owners and managers to protect children and families from secondhand smoke exposure in their homes," states Dr. Joseph Iser, director-health officer of the Yolo County Health Department. Click above for the full article.
5/5: The following is from a May 3rd Science Daily article: The majority of children living in apartments are exposed to secondhand smoke, even when they don't live with smokers. This study from the University of Rochester Medical Center is the first to examine whether housing type is a potential contributor to children's exposure to cigarette smoke. The abstract was presented at the Pediatric Academic Society Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Among children who lived in an apartment, 84 percent had been exposed to tobacco smoke, according to the level of a biomarker (cotinine) in their blood that indicates exposure to nicotine found in tobacco, and this included more than 9 of 10 African-American and white children. Even among children who lived in detached houses, 70 percent showed evidence of exposure. "We are starting to understand the role that seepage through walls and through shared ventilation may impact tobacco smoke exposure in apartments," said Karen Wilson, M.D., MPH, author of the study and an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital. "We see that children are being exposed in ways we are not picking up, and it's important, for their health, that we figure out where this exposure is taking place, and work to eliminate it. Multi-unit housing is one potential source, but a very important one." Previous studies have shown that children with cotinine levels indicating tobacco smoke exposure have higher rates of respiratory diseases, decreased cognitive abilities and decreased antioxidant levels. The study analyzed data from almost 6,000 children between 6- and 18-years-old in a national database (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2006) to see if there was any relationship between their smoke exposure and their housing type. Apartment living was associated with a 45 percent increase in cotinine levels for African American children and a 207 percent increase for white children. About 18 percent of U.S. children live in apartments, and many of these children are living in subsidized housing communities where smoking is more prevalent. Wilson said many parents are trying to limit their children's tobacco smoke exposure by not allowing smoking in their apartments, but they say they can smell tobacco smoke coming from other apartments or from common areas. Last summer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a memo recommending that their housing developments enact smoke-free policies. A smoking ban within multi-unit, subsidized housing could further reduce the tobacco smoke exposure for children and reduce smoking rates among residents. Click above for the Science Daily article.
5/5: The following is from a May 3rd Michigan Daily article: Though the University's campus-wide smoking ban will not go into effect until July of next year, a new statewide ban on smoking has Ann Arbor restaurants and bars turning away patrons who choose to light up, sending them outside instead. The Michigan smoke-free legislation, which went into effect on Saturday, forbids all cigarette and cigar use in workplaces, including bars, restaurants and offices. As a compromise between the interests of both smokers and nonsmokers, the mandate permits smoking directly outside of work establishments. According to the new law, cigar and hookah bars will be able to remain open provided that they file an affidavit with the state of Michigan. Following the lead of other states, Michigan is now the 38th state to implement legislation that bans smoking in public areas. California became the first state to pass a workplace smoking ban in 1998. Jim Bergman, a member of the University’s Tobacco Research Network and director of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project at the Center for Social Gerontology, said he believes that the initiative will reduce the exposure of restaurant and bar customers to secondhand smoke. Bergman said the ban will also help smokers cut down on the frequency of their cigarette use by limiting the number of places available for them to smoke legally. In anticipation of the heated debate between smokers and nonsmokers, the University has assembled a body of experts to discuss the smoking ban and its impact on local restaurants and bars. Cliff Douglas, an adjunct lecturer in health management and policy at the University’s School of Public Health and a consultant on tobacco control policy to the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, said he is very optimistic about the economic benefits that the ban will bring to Ann Arbor restaurants. Douglas, who is also the director of the University's Tobacco Research Network, said restaurants in other states have reported that their business has remained steady and, in some cases, have even improved, since the enactment of their state's smoking ban. The reported financial stability, he added, should be encouraging to business owners. Click above to access the full article.
5/4: The following is from a May 1st Detroit Free Press article: Michigan’s ban on workplace smoking arrived at 6 a.m. A team of Free Press reporters spread across the state to cover how the first day went. To view all the commentary, click above.
5/4: The following is from an April 30th Buffalo News report: A new city law requires Buffalo landlords to disclose to tenants whether or not they allow smoking in their buildings. It is the first such policy in the state and one of only a few in the nation. The disclosure law clarifies to smokers and non-smokers the tobacco policies in a building before they sign a rental agreement. But tobacco-control advocates also see such laws as a way to encourage landlords to make their apartments smoke-free. "A smoke-free building is more attractive to tenants and tends to get higher payments," Anthony Billoni, coordinator of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, said Thursday. The coalition worked with the city on the law, which went into effect with little notice in March. The law, which is modeled after a policy in Oregon, requires landlords to disclose whether smoking is prohibited or allowed in a building, or allowed in limited areas. If smoking is allowed in limited areas, those areas must be identified. Notification must occur at the time tenants sign a lease agreement. Landlords can draft their own disclosure forms or use sample language available from such tobacco control organizations as the coalition. Click above for full article.
4/30: The following is from an April 30th Detroit Free Press article: At 6 a.m. Saturday, Michigan joins 37 other states that have indoor workplace smoking bans. Most of the attention has been on how it will change the culture and success of Michigan bars and restaurants. Here's a look at the Dr. Ron Davis Smoke Free Air Law. To access the full Free Press article, which explains how and where smoking is prohbited, click above. To access a Detroit News article, click here.
4/28: The following is from an April 24th Chicago Tribune article: This scene is now clouded by a new state law that bans a popular feature of the local eateries -- the hookah, or Arabic water pipe filled with flavored tobacco. Come May 1, when the law goes into effect, Dearborn's cafes will have to choose between serving food or allowing smoking. Hookahs will be welcome only in specialty tobacco stores. Tough tobacco restrictions have been imposed in many states in recent years, threatening some smoky nightspots but usually leaving the local social life unchanged. But in perhaps no other city does the aroma of fragrant smoke, the bubbling of water pipes and the tang of Arab dishes blend so intrinsically with the local lifestyle and economy. ... In the cafes, the smokers choose from as many as 30 or 40 tobaccos in a variety of flavors, such as coconut, mint, cinnamon and even cafe latte. The blend is heated in the hookah pipe, drawn through a cooling bowl of water, and inhaled through a hose. Often, older men smoke hookah during the day while younger people come in at night. They talk, smoke and enjoy plates of Mideastern food. Some customers say that smoking in a tobacco shop wouldn't be the same. ... Mike Berry, owner of the 360 Lounge and Grill, says he can't decide whether to keep his hookahs or his food service. Hookah, which generally costs $10 to $15 a bowl, represents about 60 percent of his business; food is 40 percent. If he lost either, "I'm shutting down," he said. He and Akram Allos, a tobacco and hookah wholesaler who owns Sinbad's Cafe, are gathering petition signatures to protest the new law. But Joe Loush, the owner of Arabica who emigrated from Lebanon in 1977, has opened a smoke-only shop next door to his restaurant. He said the hookah scene may be another old world tradition that surrenders to modern American culture. In the Arab-American business community, he said, "always, always, we (react) after the bill passes, which is too late." Click above for the full article.
4/23: The following is from an April 22nd Washington Post article: Imagine 150 fraternity brothers packed into a container the size of a three-bedroom house. Announce you are breaking hallowed traditions by taking away their cigarettes and admitting women. Then lock the doors and push the container deep into the sea, for months at a time. That's what the Navy, after decades of contemplation and controversy, has decided to do with its Submarine Force, an elite fraternity of 13,000 active-duty sailors that has been patrolling the oceans for 110 years. As of Dec. 31, smoking aboard the entire submarine fleet will be summarily banned -- no small hardship for the estimated 35 to 40 percent of sailors who are nicotine addicts and can't exactly step outside whenever they want a puff. To access the full article, click above.
4/22: We are delighted to report that the Sault Tribe Housing Authority in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on April 19th adopted a smoke-free policy for some of their Tribal Housing homes. The policy states that "The Housing Authority Board of Commission has declared that certain Tribal Housing homes, located in the Seven-County service area of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, shall be designated as smoke-free. Smoking is not permitted in any inside area of the designated homes." The Housing Authority Board of Commission will, at the May meeting and at subsequent meetings as needed, approve a resolution for each individual property that will be designated as smoke-free. We expect that initially a number of duplexes will be designated as smoke-free, as well as some triplexes that will be constructed in 2011 for elderly housing. This is a great achievement by the Sault Tribe Housing Authority and is something that has been worked on for well over a year. Our congratulations to their Board, their Executive Director Joni Talentino and her staff, including Mariea Mongene, who worked tirelessly on this. Congratulations also to Donna Norkoli of the Sault Tribe Health Center, as well as Lauren Eveleigh of the Health Center, and Julie Trotter of the Chippewa County Health Department and to all the other folks who contributed so much to this effort. It has been our pleasure at the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project to be a part of this endeavor. The Sault Tribe Housing Authority is the first tribal housing authority in Michigan to adopt a smoke-free policy and, as far as we know, only the fifth in the nation. There are three tribal housing authorities in Alaska and one in Maine that also have adopted smoke-free policies. The Sault Tribe Housing Authority has about 500 units of housing in the 7-county area. To access the Sault Tribe web site, click above.
4/22: The following is from an April 22nd Detroit Free Press story: Michigan's smoking ban kicks in May 1, nearly four years after a similar one was approved in Ohio that sent some Buckeye State residents across the border so they could smoke in Michigan bars and restaurants. Both bans state that proprietors have to prohibit smoking, remove ashtrays and post no-smoking signs. The Ohio signs are to have a toll-free enforcement number. Here's a quick look at the rules in both states. To see more, click above.
4/21: The following is from an April 19th CNN Health story: If you have perpetually clogged and swollen sinuses, secondhand smoke -- even in small amounts may be to blame. According to a new study, secondhand smoke may be responsible for up to 40 percent of cases of chronic sinusitis. "People should be aware of their exposure when they go to friends' houses, when they go to parties and weddings, [when they're] playing card games," says the lead author of the study, Martin Tammemagi, Ph.D., an associate professor of community health sciences at Brock University, in St. Catharines, Ontario. "They shouldn't allow themselves to be exposed and they shouldn't be exposing other people." Sinusitis describes a range of unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms that include nasal and sinus inflammation, congestion, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, and a reduced sense of smell. The chronic version of the condition -- which is defined as lasting for 12 weeks or more -- affects about 1 in 6 adults in the U.S., according to the study. In the study, Tammemagi and his colleagues surveyed more than 600 nonsmokers from the Detroit area -- half of whom had been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis -- about their exposure to secondhand smoke at home, at work, in public places (such as bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys), and in private social settings over a five-year period. In each case, more people diagnosed with sinusitis reported being exposed to secondhand smoke. More than 50 percent of those with sinusitis said they'd inhaled secondhand smoke at private parties and social functions, compared with just 28 percent of those who did not have sinusitis, for instance. Overall, the researchers found, breathing secondhand smoke in private social settings nearly tripled the risk of being diagnosed with sinusitis, while breathing it at work more than doubled the risk. Being exposed to secondhand smoke at home or in public places increased the risk of diagnosis by 69 percent and 50 percent, respectively, according to the study. (To pinpoint the effects of secondhand smoke, the researchers factored in the participants' socioeconomic status and their exposure to air pollution and other airborne irritants.) And the more often people inhaled cigarette smoke, the more likely they were to develop sinusitis. Click above to access the full story.
4/21: According to an April 20th The Province story: Smoking will be banned in Vancouver parks and beaches effective Sept. 1. That was assured when the Vancouver parks board voted unanimously Monday night to approve a staff report recommending the bylaw to prohibit smoking in all parks and beaches be implemented after a four-month "education and awareness" program. Board chairman Aaron Jasper said he was "very, very supportive" of the ban, which will be implemented in more than 200 city parks and nearly 18 kilometres of beaches. "Even though it's an open space, the dangers of second-hand smoke are still there," said Jasper, who also cited the environmental concerns of cigarette butts littering beaches. "These are toxic pieces of garbage." The staff report noted that about 87 per cent of B.C. residents are non-smokers and said that "for many, a visit to the park or beach may be improved substantially if the environment were to be designated a smoke-free area." Click above for the full story.
4/20: The following is from a Channel 13 TV report: The Michigan smoking ban is about to go into effect. Starting May 1, there will be no more smoking in bars, restaurants, or workplaces, with the exception of Detroit's three casinos as well as cigar bards, tobacco stores, specialty stores, home offices, and motor vehicles. Michigan's 20 American Indian casinos are also exempt from the state law. Michigan is the 38th state to ban smoking in public places. Governor Jennifer Granholm says it will make Michigan a healthier state. Penalties for violation of the ban are $100 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offences. Click above to access the TV report.
4/15: The Non-Smokers' Rights Association in Canada has just released a new resource for tobacco control and smoke-free housing advocates entitled "Smoke-Free Affordable Housing: Picking on Poor People or a Case for Social Justice?" To access this informative analysis, click above.
4/15: According to a report from Ontario: Three social housing providers in and around Peterborough have adopted no-smoking policies which are already in effect: 1) Millbrook Non-Profit Housing in Millbrook; 2) St. Giles Retirement Home in Peterborough; and 3) Maryland Place in Peterborough. Congratulations to our colleagues at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit who assisted these housing providers adopt their policies. To read the press release, click above.
4/15: The following is from an April 14th CNN report: Adults with depression are more likely to be cigarette smokers than those without depression, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics that reinforces previous findings. More than half of men with depression ages 40-54 were current smokers compared with 26 percent of the men who did not have depression. For women in the same age category, 43 percent who had depression smoked, compared with 22 percent without depression. More than half of smokers with depression reported having their first cigarette of the day within five minutes of waking. They were also more likely to smoke over a pack a day. These are indicators of heavy smoking. These findings were based on interviews and examination samples of approximately 5,000 people of all ages from 2005 to 2006. Previous studies have shown that smoking is more prevalent in people who have depression. One possible factor is that people use smoking to cope with depression. Click above for the CNN report. To access the CDC report, click here.
4/13: The following is from an April 8th U.S. Navy notice: Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) has effected a policy April 8 banning smoking below decks aboard all U.S. Navy submarines. The smoking ban, announced via naval message, will become effective no later than Dec. 31, 2010. The impetus behind the change of policy is the health risks to non-smokers, specifically exposure to secondhand smoke. "Our Sailors are our most important asset to accomplishing our missions. Recent testing has proven that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine. The only way to eliminate risk to our non-smoking Sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines," said Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, COMSUBFOR. ... Subsequent to the 2006 Surgeon General report, the Submarine Force chartered the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory to conduct a study on U.S. submarines. The study indicated that non-smoking Sailors were exposed to measurable levels of Environment Tobacco Smoke (ETS), also called secondhand smoke. The year-long study was conducted in 2009 on nine different submarines, including at least one from each class of submarines in the force. In conjunction with the policy change, cessation assistance to Sailors is being offered. The program will incorporate education techniques and nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum, to assist in kicking the smoking habit. In keeping with current submarine policy, drugs such as Zyban and Chantix are not authorized. Click above for full article.
4/8: The following is from an April 7th Burlington Free Press report: Burlington Housing Authority's three high-rise buildings will become smoke-free Nov. 1, but at least one resident of Decker Towers on St. Paul Street vows a legal challenge to the new policy. "If I can't find someone to help me, I'll do it myself," said Chris Hersey, who has lived in the high-rise for six years. "I'll walk into federal court by myself if I have to. I won't let some city bureaucracy tell me what I can and can't do. I'm not letting them get away with this." The new policy will affect the 159 units in Decker Towers, the 65 units in South Square Apartments on College Street, and the 50 units in Champlain Apartments on North Champlain Street. The apartments provide housing for income-eligible people over age 62 and for the disabled. BHA Executive Director Paul Dettman said the new policy, announced in late February in a letter to residents, is part of a national trend encouraged by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides funding for the housing. The shift is motivated by concerns about the effects of second-hand smoke on residents and by safety concerns. He said BHA has not tested the flow of second-hand smoke in the three Burlington high-rises but has received "infrequent" complaints about smoke from some tenants. The letter to residents said, "BHA takes the health, safety and welfare of our tenants very seriously" and noted that Decker Towers had an apartment fire Feb. 17 "caused by careless smoking." Water from the building's sprinkler system caused $100,000 damage, Dettman said. He said the BHA decision was not arbitrary but part of a national movement. The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project of the Center for Social Gerontology in Ann Arbor, Mich., is an advocate for smoke-free housing units. Jim Bergman, the project director and co-director of the gerontology center, said the increase nationally in smoke-free, market-rate and affordable housing has been dramatic. ... The BHA policy will require resident smokers to leave the property. "Violating this policy," BHA's letter said, "will result in terminating your tenancy." Bergman and Dettman said they are unaware of any legal challenge to smoke-free housing policies such as those being implemented in Burlington. "I'm totally confident a legal challenge would not prevail," Bergman said. Click above to access the full article.
4/7: The following is from an April 5th Los Angeles Times article: California legislators want to ban smoking at state beaches and parks, and they've sent a bill to the governor that would do just that. It remains to be seen whether he'll sign the measure, designed to reduce the public's exposure to secondhand smoke, not to mention cut back on cigarette butt litter. But just what are the health effects of inhaling the smoke of somebody else's cigarette? And does it matter if exposure is fleeting -- and outdoors? Researchers have answers about the health effects (and yes, they're negative), but their conclusions are based on smoke-filled indoor environments; the relevance for outdoor settings is less clear. In recent years, the U.S. surgeon general, the Institute of Medicine and the California Environmental Protection Agency have reviewed evidence and found that regular exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of heart attack and heart disease, respiratory infection, lung cancer and sudden infant death syndrome. In addition, a growing body of research has found that smoking bans in workplaces, public buildings and restaurants have a positive effect on public health. People might not think they're inhaling much smoke, at least not enough to be dangerous, when they're around smokers. But, says Stanton Glantz, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UC San Francisco, "a cigarette is like a little toxic waste dump on fire. If you're upwind of it, you don't have much effect. But if you happen to be in the plume -- or you're congregating around a doorway -- you can get quite high levels of exposure." Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of chemicals, including benzene, carbon monoxide and nicotine, many of them known carcinogens. Fine particulate matter within smoke can carry those chemicals deep into the lungs, Glantz says. Here's a closer look at the health effects of secondhand smoke. Click above for full article.
4/6: The following is from an April 5th Detroit News article: With less than a month before Michigan's smoking ban goes into effect, the state isn't sure who should enforce the law, and counties are warning it shouldn't be them. The impasse comes as the state is fielding hundreds of calls from owners of restaurants to pool halls, even hookah bars, looking for clarity on how to comply with what becomes law on May 1. Michigan will become the 38th state to limit smoking in public places including government buildings, workplaces, bars and restaurants. Besides enforcement questions, there's confusion over other aspects of the law, such as how big "no smoking" signs should be, whether charity events fall under the statute, the dimensions of outdoor smoking areas and who will monitor work forces. Lawmakers are also getting resistance from veterans groups who want an exemption so they can light up in private clubs. "What we have to do is figure out some details to make sure people are in compliance, and that we have a law people can follow," said state Department of Community Health spokesman James McCurtis. The biggest aspect of the law facing state health officials is determining who will police establishments to ensure patrons don't get away with sneaking a smoke. "Most likely it will be the local health departments (enforcing the ban). It will fall into restaurant inspections (and) it will be complaint based," McCurtis said. "It's not quite concrete, but I guarantee it will be concrete by May 1," he added. "I'm sure some (local health departments) may be unhappy." Click above for the full article.
4/1: The following is from an April 1st Detroit Free Press article: Michigan's smoking ban might seem unfair to smokers or another blow to a wobbling restaurant industry. But others see an opportunity to do what they've wanted to do for years: toss out their ashtrays. More than 150 Michigan eateries have opted to go smoke-free since Dec. 10, when the Legislature voted for the ban. Some had wanted to do it for years, but feared losing customers to other restaurants. The looming May 1 ban snuffs out any chance of that. Light up in any restaurant or bar and most workplaces, and you can be fined $100 for the first offense, and up to $500 for repeated violations. All 23 National Coney Island sites in metro Detroit went smoke-free in January. Though customer response was overwhelmingly positive to a test ban last year, Tom Giftos, president and CEO of the chain his father started in 1965, said the economy had him worried. "Nobody wants to turn away business in any shape or form these days," he said. The state ban "gave us a bit of justification." Vitale's Italian eatery in Grosse Ile went smoke-free Jan. 1, said Maria Vitale-Cusumano, one of the owners. "They complained a bit, sure," she said, referring to her few smoking customers, "but it has been nothing major." Click above for full article.
3/31: The following is from a March 29th editorial in the New Haven Register: We are usually leery of incursions by government into our private lives, such as the requirement in the Democrats' health legislation that chain restaurants post calorie counts for the food they serve. The idea of government do-gooders looking over our shoulder while we eat is galling. However, Milford made the right call in banning smoking from its 465 units of public housing. The ban in the living units was enacted because of concerns about the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke, accidental fires and the extra costs of maintenance. Tenants can smoke outside. Concerns about secondhand smoke may have been a main factor in the authority’s vote. Two other factors supported the ban. The tenants are not owners, but renters. They have to live by rules that do not apply to homeowners. Second, it takes twice the money to refurbish a unit after a smoker moves out, according to Hilary H. Holowink, chairwoman of Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership. Just as some landlords ban pets, there is a sound economic reason for Milford to ban smoking in its public housing. To access the editorial, click above.
3/30: According to a March 26th The Sun Chronicle article: Area lawmakers and housing officials are questioning whether a proposed law to limit smoking in state-assisted senior housing infringes on smokers' personal freedom. "How can they say to people, 'you can't smoke in your own home?'" said state Rep. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro. "Smoking is legal." The proposal, sponsored by state Reps. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, and Theodore Speliotis, D-Peabody, would require larger senior housing complexes to dedicate at least one building as smoke-free. Smaller facilities would need to ban smoking in at least 20 percent of the rooms. Those living in other units would be able to continue smoking in their rooms. The bill has been reported out of committee, but does not seem to be a high priority for this session as no vote has been scheduled. ... Current policy for state-assisted housing in Attleboro allows for smoking in private apartment units but bans smoking in common areas like laundry rooms and meeting spaces. Click above for the full article.
3/30: The following is from a March 26th BBC news report: Campaigners marking the fourth anniversary of Scotland's smoking ban have called for more action to protect young people from passive smoking. ASH Scotland wants a "positive" campaign urging adults not to light up when children are present. Sheila Duffy, the charity's chief executive, said there were about 300,000 children under 13 living with at least one parent who smokes. The ban on smoking in public places was introduced on 26 March 2006. Ms Duffy stated: "Today marks four years since Scotland's smoke-free public places legislation was introduced and our public health is benefiting greatly from this law which remains widely supported in terms of both public opinion and compliance." She added: "Smoke-free public places were introduced to protect workers and others from the harm caused by second-hand smoke, but people are not protected in other areas such as the home. "I would like to see much more work done to raise awareness of the harm that second-hand smoke can cause to children and a positive campaign to encourage adults not to smoke when children are present." ASH Scotland is also calling for increased awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke. Ms Duffy said this had been linked to a number of health problems in youngsters, including respiratory problems, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome. Earlier this week doctors had called on the Scottish Government to ban smoking in cars in order to reduce health risks for children. A report by the Royal College of Physicians into the effect of passive smoking on children said smoking in cars was an "important and persistent" factor in exposing children to cigarette smoke. Click above to access the article.
3/29: According to a March 25th press release from the Maricopa County Tobacco Use Prevention Program: Manistee Manor Senior Apartments will go completely smokefree on April 1, 2010, according to Debi Widahl, property manager. This 75 multi housing unit is following the July 2009 HUD document that "strongly recommended all HUD funded properties go smokefree or partially smokefree." A celebration will be held at Manistee Manor located at 7987 N. 53rd Ave. Glendale, AZ at 1 pm on Thursday, April 1. An award will be presented by the Maricopa County Tobacco Use Prevention Program. Sue Bergquist, Community Development Specialist in Multi Housing says, "Manistee Manor has gone above and beyond in setting the standard for multihousing. Smoke-free multi-housing is a critical frontier that needs to be promoted to protect the health of non smoking residents. Residents often experience exposure to secondhand smoke that migrates into their apartments through common air ducts and walls under which they have no recourse under most state clean indoor air acts." While considering the decision to become smokefree, Manistee Manor had a smoking related fire that could have been disastrous. It occurred on a balcony at 3:00 in the morning. The heat was so intense it melted the metal railing. Someone adjacent to the building saw the fire and called the fire department. Luckily it was contained. Smoking is the number one cause of residential fires. Residents were notified in April 2009 that the property would go smokefree in April 2010. A few residents chose to move, some quit and some agreed to smoke off the property. Interviewed residents say they are thrilled and have thanked management for their decision. Management now has a waiting list for tenants who want a smokefree environment. ... Maricopa County Tobacco Use Prevention Program was instrumental in helping Manistee go smokefree. It provided a Tobacco 101 presentation to residents, information regarding the state-funded ASHLine that provides free online or phone cessation counseling for those that want to quit, and sample document language for the property owners. Click above for the full press release.
3/26: According to a March 26th USA Today report: A growing number of states are cracking down on tobacco use on prison grounds to prevent illness and help bring down health care costs. Virginia, which instituted its ban in February, is the most recent state to do so, said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections. A USA TODAY review of the 50 states found that 25 states ban tobacco for staff and inmates on prison grounds. Georgia plans to enact a smoking ban Dec. 1, according to Bronson Frick, associate director of the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Many other states have bans that primarily outlaw tobacco use but have some type of exception such as staff smoking areas, the review found. The trend is growing, Frick said, because the bans help save the states money on health care and prevent guards and inmates from being exposed to secondhand smoke on the job. "These policies work once they are in effect," he said. Instead of a "cold turkey" approach, some prisons allowed their bans to phase in gradually, hoping that would create less of a stir among the prison populations. Click above for the full article.
3/25: The following is from a March 24th New Haven Register article: Residents in the city's 465 public housing units soon no longer will be able to light up in their homes. Spurred in part by a "strong recommendation" from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Milford Redevelopment & Housing Partnership banned smoking in all parts of its buildings in a recent split vote. "It is a smoke-free facilities policy," Milford Housing Authority Executive Director Anthony Vasiliou said Tuesday. "It covers 100 percent of all of the property we own and operate." The last day current residents can light up inside their MRHP-owned house or apartment is Nov. 1. The ban takes effect immediately for anyone signing a new lease, and smoking in common areas already has been banned for more than a decade. Smoking still will be allowed outside the buildings, but designated areas will be established if people don't "exhibit common sense" and stay away from the entrances when they go out for a cigarette, Vasiliou said. Vasiliou said public housing smoking bans are becoming more prevalent across the country, but particularly have taken root in the Northeast. In supporting the ban, MRHP Chairwoman Hilary H. Holowink cited health concerns over secondhand smoke, safety surrounding accidental fires and economic reasons concerning smoke damage. "We voted for the health benefits and the fire safety benefits and to be a good steward of state and federal money," Holowink said Tuesday. "It takes at least twice as much money to refurbish a unit after a smoker has been living there." Click above to access the full article. This brings the total nationally to at least 153 housing authorities. To access a list of all 153, click here.
3/25: An article of the above title was released on March 23, 2010 and was authored by Goodarz Danaei1, Eric B. Rimm, Shefali Oza, Sandeep C. Kulkarni, Christopher J. L. Murray, Majid Ezzati. The following is from the abstract of the study: There has been substantial research on psychosocial and health care determinants of health disparities in the United States (US) but less on the role of modifiable risk factors. We estimated the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, and adiposity on national life expectancy and on disparities in life expectancy and disease-specific mortality among eight subgroups of the US population (the _Eight Americas_) defined on the basis of race and the location and socioeconomic characteristics of county of residence, in 2005. ... Individually, smoking and high blood pressure had the largest effect on life expectancy disparities. ... Disparities in smoking, blood pressure, blood glucose, and adiposity explain a significant proportion of disparities in mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and some of the life expectancy disparities in the US. To access the full journal article, click above.
Smoking, High Blood Pressure and Being Overweight Top Three Preventable Causes of Death in the U.S.; New Study Finds Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths Each Year Due to Dietary, Lifestyle and Metabolic Risk Factors
3/25: The following is from an April 27, 2009 press release concerning the release of a related report: Smoking, high blood pressure and being overweight are the leading preventable risk factors for premature mortality in the United States, according to a new study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), with collaborators from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The researchers found that smoking is responsible for 467,000 premature deaths each year, high blood pressure for 395,000, and being overweight for 216,000. The effects of smoking work out to be about one in five deaths in American adults, while high blood pressure is responsible for one in six deaths. It is the most comprehensive study yet to look at how diet, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors for chronic disease contribute to mortality in the U.S. The study appears in the April 28, 2009 edition of the open-access journal PLoS Medicine and is referenced as follows: "The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors," Goodarz Danaei, Eric L. Ding, Dariush Mozaffarian, Ben Taylor, Jurgen Rehm, Christopher J.L. Murray, Majid Ezzati, PLoS Medicine, April 28, 2009, Volume 6, Issue 4. To access the full press release, click above.
3/24: The Board of Commissioners of the Everett Housing Authority (EHA) in Everett, Washington, adopted a policy for their Five Year and Annual Plan to read: "EHA will implement a no-smoking policy for all of its public housing properties to be effective no later than June 30, 2011." The Board unanimously passed the proposed change and then passed the Five Year Plan. Everett becomes the 8th public housing authority in Washington state to adopt a smoke-free policy for some or all its buildings. This brings the total nationally to at least 153 housing authorities. To access a list of all 153, click here. To go to the Everett Housing Authority site, click above.
3/24: The following is from a March 23rd Washington Post article: California lawmakers on Monday [March 22nd] moved a step closer to banning smoking at state beaches and parks, following the lead of hundreds of communities nationwide. The state Assembly voted 42-27 in favor of the ban. Anti-smoking groups say the bill would make California the first state to ban smoking throughout its entire park system if it is signed into law. The Senate passed it previously but must agree to amendments made in the Assembly before it is sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not taken a position on it. ... Cigarettes are the No. 1 item collected by volunteers at beach clean-up days throughout the U.S., according to the Ocean Conservancy. Under the California bill, smoking in prohibited areas would be an infraction punishable with a $100 fine. Any state park that does not have the money to buy no-smoking signs alerting visitors to the rules would be exempt, although some parks already ban smoking during fire season. It's not clear how many of California's 279 state parks would be unable to erect such signs. About 3 percent of wildfires are caused by cigarettes each year in California, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Click above for full article.
HHS Awards $372 Million in Prevention and Wellness Grants to 44 Communities Around the Nation; Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Grants Include Some Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Projects
3/23: The following is from a March 19th press release from the Department of Health & Human Services: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced awards of more than $372 million to 44 communities, to support public health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition. As part of the Community Putting Prevention to Work initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded grants to prevent chronic disease and promote wellness to 44 communities around the country on March 19, 2010. Under the Community Initiative, the communities receiving awards are diverse and highlights of these projects are grouped below by type of project: Communities Funded for Both Obesity and Tobacco; Large Cities with Obesity Projects; Large Cities with Tobacco Projects; Urban Area Tobacco Projects; Small Cities/Rural Areas Obesity Projects; Small Cities/Rural Areas Tobacco Projects; Obesity Projects by Tribes; and Tobacco Projects by Tribes. To access the full list of projects, click above. To access the press release, click here.
3/23: On March 16th, the Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership adopted a smoke-free facility policy covering all 465 units of public housing. The policy went into effect on March 17th for all new residents and all guests and staff; the policy is effective November 1, 2010 for all current residents. It covers all 465 units of Milford_s housing for families and the elderly and disabled. We at SFELP are pleased to have been able to assist them and pleased that they were able to use our model policy for their own. This is the first public housing authority in Connecticut to adopt a smoke-free policy for some or all their buildings. To access the Milford Redevelopment and Housing Partnership web site, click above.
3/18: The following is from a March 17th news report from Ontario: Janet Lowrey hopes a new Waterloo regional policy banning smoking in multi-unit dwellings will help her quit the habit. Isabel Adams has a heart condition and welcomes a move that should reduce the smell of smoke seeping into her apartment from adjoining units. But Gary Smith, a smoker for 54 years, is opposed to the ban which takes effect April 1. "What I do in my apartment is nobody's business," he said. All three are tenants at 74 Church St., a 48-unit seniors' apartment building in downtown Kitchener, owned by the region. This smoke-free policy will only apply to new tenants who move in on or after April 1. It does not apply to existing tenants unless they move to a new unit. The new policy also restricts outdoor smoking to five metres from a building. Irwin Peters, regional manager of housing, said 22 tenants are slated to move into public housing units on April 1, and all have signed leases with no-smoking clauses. And only a handful of the about 3,500 people on a waiting list for public housing have dropped out because of the new smoking policy, Peters said. "Not everyone is going to be happy with the change. That is expected," said Deb Schlichter, regional director of housing. She said the region is the first housing provider in Ontario to ban smoking in public housing units and it will be watched closely by other municipalities. Hamilton banned smoking in specific buildings as a pilot project. Click above for the full article.
3/18: The following is from a March 14th NY Times story: The Bloomberg administration is moving closer to shutting one of the largest and busiest nightclubs in the city, as part of an aggressive new strategy to revoke the operating licenses of clubs that health officials believe promote smoking. The nightclub, the M2 UltraLounge on West 28th Street in Manhattan, went on trial last week at a special administrative court that the city uses when it seeks to take away property. If the case against the club succeeds, it would be the first time the city had closed a business solely for flouting a ban on smoking. City officials have also moved to take several other clubs before the court, seeking to revoke their food and beverage licenses. It has been an open secret for years among the late-night set that there is a network of so-called smoke-easies throughout the city, from little neighborhood dives to glossy, exclusive bo_tes, that let patrons smoke illegally. Health department officials say that the vast majority of businesses comply with the 2002 law forbidding smoking in clubs and bars, but that inspectors have struggled to enforce it at a handful of high-end places that seem to market themselves as smoker-friendly, some even offering loose cigarettes for sale. Generally, health officials have looked for signs of active tobacco use as part of their inspections concerning other rules, like those for food safety, and have cited clubs for violations that often result in fines of $200 to $2,000. But they have had difficulty gaining access to the clubs when patrons are actually smoking. "Some of the clubs where smoking is going on tend to be very, very cool clubs, and a bunch of guys showing up in jackets tend to be very, very uncool," said Thomas Merrill, general counsel for the health department. So in recent months, the department has deputized a team of inspectors -- many of them younger and hipper-looking than the stereotypical bureaucrat -- to work into the wee hours, posing as patrons and hunting for tolerance of smoking by clubs' employees. Because the inspectors found many instances of patrons smoking without being asked to stop, the department petitioned the administrative court, the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, known as OATH, to recommend revoking the food and beverage licenses of 16 bars and clubs. "We found places with repeated nights of smoking, with sort of flagrant violations -- selling cigarettes, clearly creating an atmosphere in which smoking appeared to be tolerated or even welcomed," said Daniel Kass, the acting deputy commissioner for environmental health. "Those places are clearly not responding to the idea that we're going to fine them periodically for violations." Five of the clubs have settled with the city, typically agreeing to devise a plan for correction and to pay for any violations, health officials said. In all but one of the cases, if inspectors find indications of continued smoking during the next year, they can immediately shut the club down and bring it to trial. Two clubs closed for other reasons, and most of the rest, including the downtown spots Lit Lounge, the Box, Tenjune and Southside, are weighing possible settlements against a looming trial date, city officials said. The M2 case has gone the furthest. The administrative law judge hearing the case, Alessandra F. Zorgniotti, will make a ruling that will serve as a recommendation to the health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley. Click above for full story.
3/16: The following is from a March 12th Burlington Free Press report: A Vermont court has ruled that tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds engaged in deceptive and misleading advertising in promoting its Eclipse cigarettes as less risky than conventional smokes. The case was hailed by a national anti-tobacco group as one that would be read carefully and likely followed in other states. Cheryl Healton, president of Legacy, called the decision "an enormous victory," meaning that for cigarette makers to claim their products are less risky than others, "you can't say it unless you can prove it." Chittenden Superior Court Judge Dennis Pearson's decision, issued Wednesday [March , 10th] turned on Vermont's law against consumer fraud and provisions of an agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 states reached in 1998. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell's office argued the tobacco company's claims that Eclipse might carry less risk of cancer and other diseases than other cigarettes were not backed up by sufficient scientific evidence, thereby violating the state's law against consumer fraud. In addition, Pearson found that the advertisements violated the 1998 "master settlement agreement" provision barring the affected tobacco companies -- of which Reynolds was one -- from making "any material misrepresentation of fact regarding the health consequences of using any tobacco product." Sorrell said the ruling meant "companies cannot make health claims about their products unless they have the proof to back them up. This decision also shows that the tobacco industry has to live up to the promises they made in the 1998 nationwide settlement." He called it a "huge decision with national implications." Click above for the full story.
3/16: The following is from a March 13th Buffalo News report: The Seneca Nation's lucrative mail-order cigarette business appears doomed. The Senate late Thursday [March 11th] unanimously voted to ban the mailing of cigarettes, and congressional sources said Friday the House is likely to adopt that Senate bill sometime in the coming weeks. After that, only one more thing -- President Obama's signature -- will be needed to devastate a business that the Senecas claim now employs 1,000 in Western New York. The Senecas vowed to keep fighting, even though the usual fractious Senate has united against them and they found a mere 11 supporters in the 435-member House the last time the issue came up. "We will not back down," said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. "We will pursue an aggressive campaign of outreach and education to inform the voters of Western New York which political leaders stand with the Seneca Nation and those who don_t." Meanwhile, supporters of the bill -- who argue that the mailing of cigarettes leads to tax-dodging, shady profits and an increase in teen smoking -- talked as if they were on the cusp of winning their long legislative fight. "Today, we begin to provide law enforcement authorities with the tools they need to combat a very serious threat to our states_ coffers, national security and public health," said Sen. Herb Kohl, R-Wis., the chief Senate sponsor of the legislation. Kohl might be a bit premature in his comments, but congressional sources and the bill_s supporters said its final enactment is now probably imminent. Rather than setting up a conference committee to merge the slightly different versions of the bill that the House and Senate have passed, congressional sources said House leaders simply plan to have the House vote on the Senate measure. Click above to access the full story.
3/11: The following is from a March 10th San Francisco Chronicle report: Smoking soon will be snuffed out at sidewalk cafes, restaurant patios, movie and ATM lines, bingo halls and the common areas of housing complexes. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend smoking restrictions to those places, along with lighting up near doorways and windows of offices, shops and restaurants. It already is illegal to smoke in offices and commercial establishments that don't have a legally designated smoking area. "This legislation will protect thousands of San Franciscans from secondhand smoke," said Supervisor Eric Mar, chief sponsor of the legislation. Board support for the proposal was unanimous. However, a second vote is required next week for final passage. Mayor Gavin Newsom will review the amended legislation before deciding whether to sign or veto it, but he is generally in support of smoking restrictions, said spokesman Tony Winnicker. Click above for full article.
3/10: According to a Mach 10th CNBC news story: New state figures show that Indiana's adult smoking rate has dropped to its lowest level in at least a decade at the same time as legislators are considering a proposal that would eliminate the state's anti-smoking agency. The plan approved by the Republican-controlled Senate would transfer the duties of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation board to the State Department of Health. State Budget Director Chris Ruhl has told legislators that abolishing the agency could save between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in overhead and administration. Ruhl said smoking is the only health issue with its own state agency and oversight -- and he questioned the board's effectiveness in cutting smoking rates. "If we are making progress it's very slow, particularly given how much money is being spent," Ruhl said. The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported that Indiana's adult smoking rate for 2009 dropped to 23.1 percent -- down from 26.9 percent when the board was created in 2000. The Senate voted 32-18 last month for a bill that included eliminating the anti-tobacco board. The Democrat-led House hasn't acted on the legislation as the General Assembly faces a Sunday night deadline to adjourn. Kevin O'Flaherty, Indiana's director of advocacy for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that funding levels dropped when similar stand-alone agencies were eliminated in Ohio and Mississippi. "It was a power grab and a money grab in those states," he said. "The question is whether Indiana's efforts would suffer over time due to the switch. There are no parameters in the bill. It just abolishes the board and folds the assets and responsibilities in the state department of health." State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, who is leaving to take a position with the federal Centers for Disease Control, said the department could run a tobacco prevention program with fewer employees than the separate agency, but she cautioned against an "erosion of funding." "The funding should be sustained," she said. Click above to access the news story.
3/10: According to a March 8th Radio New Zealand report: Smoking will be banned in workplaces, buses and taxis, restaurants and all public places in American Samoa under planned new legislation. A person who smokes in a no smoking zone would be subject to a fifty US dollar fine. The owner or manager of a public place or place of employment who fails to comply with the no smoking law would be fined 100 dollars for a first violation and 200 for each additional violation within one year. The legislation also provides that a person or business operator who repeatedly violates the proposed law could have any government issued licenses revoked. Click above to access the report.
3/8: The following is from a March 6th Kansan report: The Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision Friday [March 6th] upholding Newton's smoking ban. The Whitesell-Finnel Post No. 971 Veterans of Foreign Wards and Wayne G. Austin American Legion Post No. 2, both of Newton, filed a lawsuit Dec. 20, 2007, against the city's smoking ban. The two fraternal organizations argued the law was unconstitutional under the Fourth and 14th amendments. They also alleged they should be exempt from the ordinance as private clubs. The lower court issued a summary judgment in favor of the city, saying the ordinance did not violate the constitutional rights of the VFW or American Legion and their members. The lower court also ruled the lawsuit was preemptive in that neither organization had been cited under the ordinance. The ordinance was passed on Nov. 13, 2007. It banned smoking in all public places and all enclosed places of employment in Newton. The VFW's lawsuit was filed by Gary Loyd on Dec. 20, 2007. Loyd was later taken off the case and the VFW and American Legion added. The Supreme Court, in its decision Friday, said the ordinance did not violate the organizations' members' rights to due process under the 14th Amendment or the right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment as asserted by the VFW and American Legion. "Plaintiffs_ argument is apparently based on the simplistic notion that a private organization with a private clubhouse has a constitutional right to privacy," the court said in its judgment. ... "Upon the merits of the argument, the city pointed out that a right to privacy action requires the existence of a fundamental privacy interest and that no court, to date, had recognized the smoking of tobacco as a fundamental right." Click above to access the full news story.
3/4: According to a March 3rd news report: Menlo Park's City Council at its March 2 meeting agreed on revisions that would strengthen the city's smoking ordinance. The revised ordinance will prohibit smoking in public parks, parking lots open to the public, places of congregation such as ATM machines and bus stops, and in common areas within multi-unit residences. Perhaps most significantly, the ordinance declares second-hand smoke a nuisance -- enabling people to take legal action against others who smoke in their vicinity, in an adjoining apartment unit, for instance. The council approved the wording of the ordinance by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman John Boyle dissenting. The ordinance will come before the council at a later date, and will go into effect 30 days after it's enacted. ... The city drafted the ordinance in response to an extraordinary lobbying effort by Barbara Franklin, who decided to take up the issue after she was bothered by smoke wafting into her condominium unit from an apartment below hers. She began making presentations to the council about the dangers of secondhand smoke in late 2008, and has attended most council meetings since then, often sitting through the several hours of the meeting. Click above to access the full article.
3/4: The following is from a March 3rd Reuters report: Children as young as 13 who have evidence of secondhand smoke in their blood also have visibly thicker arteries, Finnish researchers reported on Tuesday [March 2nd]. Their study suggests that the damage caused by secondhand tobacco smoke starts in childhood and causes measurable damage by the teen years. "Although previous research has found that passive smoke may be harmful for blood vessels among adults, we did not know until this study that these specific effects also happen among children and adolescents," Dr. Katariina Kallio of the University of Turku in Finland, who led the study, said in a statement. Her team studied 494 children aged 8 to 13 taking part in ongoing research on heart disease. They measured levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine that is found in the blood after someone breathes in tobacco smoke. Click above for the full news story.
3/3: As a result of the statewide MISmokeFreeApartment Initiative begun in 2003-2004, Today there are thousands upon thousands of smoke-free apartment buildings throughout Michigan. The number goes almost daily, including market-rate housing, public housing and other "affordable" housing. To access listings of many of these smoke-free apartments, go to the MISmokeFreeApartment site by clicking above.
3/1: According to a Feb. 26th news report: The Massachusetts House gave initial approval to a bill (H 1181) requiring local housing authorities to provide for nonsmoking buildings in multi-building senior housing complexes or for a no-smoking floor in single-building senior housing. The bill phases in the proposed law, grandfathers in current smokers and prevents their eviction. The bill still must pass another vote in the House and then go to the Senate. Click above to access the news report. To access a copy of H 1181 click here.
3/1: The following is from a Feb. 25th news story: A statewide smoking ban is on the table again at the Indiana Statehouse. The House of Representatives voted 54-44 Thursday to impose a statewide smoking ban with just two exceptions: casinos and pari-mutuel horse racing venues or racinos. "This is something we should have done three years ago, ladies and gentlemen. I don't think we can wait another year as has been quoted by the president Pro Tem of the Indiana Senate. That is why I want to send it back over there," said Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary). ... The smoking ban passed by ten votes so the Senate will have the chance to concur with the changes or differ and send it to conference committee to iron out the differences between the bills that passed out of the House and the Senate. Click above for full article.
2/26: The following is from a Feb. 25th Kansas City Star report: In a landmark move, the Kansas House passed a statewide public smoking ban Thursday and sent it to Gov. Mark Parkinson. If Parkinson signs the legislation as expected, Kansas will join nearly 40 states that have some statewide restrictions on where smokers can light up. The ban would go into effect July 1. Today's vote was 68-54. Supporters said they were tired of waiting as ban proposals languished for years on the legislative agenda. "While we continue to debate and debate... people are dying," said Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican and a physician. "People are becoming ill, and they are asking you to help them." In the end, supporters of the ban used a procedural move to force a vote on the legislation on House floor Thursday. Since the Senate has already passed the measure it now goes straight to Parkinson, who has said he supports a ban. The proposed ban would prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants, workplaces, 80 percent of hotel rooms and taxi cabs. Casino floors, tobacco shops, private clubs and designated smoking rooms in hotels would be exempt. The ban will not replace stricter local smoking bans now in place. Some 39 Kansas cities and counties -- including all in the metro area -- already ban smoking to some degree. Click above for the full article.
2/19: We're thrilled to announce that the Michigan Department of Community Health's (MDCH) Tobacco Section has just been awarded a $1.5 million grant for a 2 year project to greatly expand the smoke-free multi-unit dwellings (SF MUDS) efforts we have been involved in since 2003. The funding is from the funds the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention received under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) aka "stimulus funding". 15 grants were awarded nationwide (to 13 states), and it appears that only 2 dealt with tobacco or secondhand smoke issues, and Michigan's appears to be the only one that dealt with SF MUDS. The other awards dealt with reducing obesity, increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, and decreasing smoking. This project has as its goal to increase smoke-free public and other affordable housing in Michigan by making 80% to 90% of all public and other affordable housing smoke-free by the end of 2011, including tribal public and other affordable housing. This ambitious project is a partnership of the MDCH Tobacco Section, the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project, two tribal organizations (the South Eastern Michigan Indians, Inc., and the Sault Tribe), and about 10 local health departments. The project will involve working closely with local public housing commissions, tribal housing authorities, other private affordable housing owners/operators, sovereign tribal entities, and others. The project starts almost immediately and will go on until February, 2012. You can access the HHS press release on this by clicking above.
2/19: According to a Feb. 17th television report from Salt Lake City: A recent advertising campaign urges renters to work with their landlords for help in dealing with neighbors who smoke. Cristina Flores reports. To access the video of this news story, click above.
2/19: The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project maintains an up-dated listing of all the public housing authorities/commissions in the U.S. that we know of which have adopted smoke-free policies for one or more of their apartment buildings. The listing is done largely in the order in which the policies have been adopted. As of January, 2010, at least 145 local housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their apartment buildings, with about 130 being adopted since the beginning of January, 2005; an average of over 2 per month. That constitutes an increase in the number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of over 866% in 60 months. The 22 states with such policies include Michigan (33), Minnesota (29), Maine (19), Colorado (13), California (7), Nebraska (6), Washington (6), Oregon (5), New Hampshire (4), Alaska (4), Idaho (3), Utah (3), New Jersey (2), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (2), Florida, Montana, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas and Massachusetts. To access the listing, in pdf format, click above.
2/18: On Feb. 17th, the County Health Rankings -- the first set of reports to rank the overall health of every county in all 50 states -- were released by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at a briefing in Washington, D.C. The health rankings include the smoking rates in each county. To access the rankings web site, click above.
2/17: The following is from a Feb. 9th MSNBC report: Add a new health threat to smoking: In addition to the harm caused by actually smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, so-called third-hand smoke may also pose a threat, particularly to babies and toddlers. A new study reveals that the residue of nicotine that lingers on surfaces can react with another chemical in the air to form potent carcinogens -- chemicals linked to various cancers. While first-hand smoke is that inhaled directly by the smoker and second-hand is the smoke exhaled (and inhaled by others), third-hand smoke is the residue from second-hand smoke. ... "The burning of tobacco releases nicotine in the form of a vapor that adsorbs strongly onto indoor surfaces, such as walls, floors, carpeting, drapes and furniture. Nicotine can persist on those materials for days, weeks and even months," said Hugo Destaillats, a chemist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in San Francisco, and one of the authors of the study. Scientists have been aware for several years that tobacco smoke sort of sticks to surfaces where it can react with other chemicals. But reactions of residual smoke constituents with molecules in the air have been overlooked as a source of harmful pollutants, the researchers of the new study say. Destaillats and colleagues investigated the formation of harmful chemicals in the air after exposing material to cigarette smoke. They found that it reacts with one chemical in particular. "Our study shows that when this residual nicotine reacts with ambient nitrous acid it forms carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs," Destaillats said. "TSNAs are among the most broadly acting and potent carcinogens present in unburned tobacco and tobacco smoke." Click above for the full story.
2/17: Michigan leads the nation in having 33 local public housing commissions that have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. The most recent was the Manistee Housing Commission which adopted its policy in December, 2009. The policy applies to two duplexes and to all future units which have substantial repairs or renovating. The commission is also considering making certain other of its buildings smoke-free. Nationwide, there are now at least 143 local housing authorities with smoke-free policies. To access a list of these housing authorities, click above.
2/11: The following is from a Feb. 9th Boston Globe story: Alyssa Burrage says she was smoked out of her new $405,000 condominium. Burrage, a 32-year-old advertising company employee with a history of asthma, had smelled cigarettes when she first visited the bright, parlor-level condo in Boston's South End in 2006 with her real estate broker. But the broker, she alleges, assured her that the owner must be a smoker and the stench would disappear. After Burrage moved into the Milford Street brick row house, she says, she discovered the secondhand smoke was coming from one of two men living in the condo below. The men and the condo association refused to fix the problem, she adds, and she had to move out. Today, in what tobacco law specialists call one of the first lawsuits of its kind to go to trial in Massachusetts, a jury is scheduled to decide whether Burrage's real estate broker is liable for damages. In recent years, there have been a handful of lawsuits over secondhand smoke in the state, including several disputes between tenants and landlords in Housing Court. But no one has ever won monetary damages in a case over smoking fumes, legal specialists say. If Burrage wins in Suffolk Superior Court, it could encourage similar litigation and open a new front in the battle over secondhand smoke. Burrage, who has leased her condo out since she left the building in May 2008, says she dislikes confrontations and is hardly an antismoking crusader. "I'm certainly not a person who's on a soapbox saying people shouldn't smoke," she said in the Back Bay office of her lawyer. "But when it affects somebody else, that's where the line needs to be drawn. It's an awful thing to not be able to escape from something that's hurting your health." ... Burrage also sued the two men in the downstairs condominium -- Edward J. Allan, who owns the two-story garden-level apartment, and Michael Schofield, the smoker who has lived with Allan for 13 years -- and the condominium association. All three defendants settled with Burrage out of court yesterday, according to Burrage's lawyer, Colleen C. Cook. No details were available. Earlier in the day, Schofield's lawyer defended his client, saying that when the Massachusetts Legislature banned smoking in restaurants, bars, and other workplaces in 2004, it specified that it was still legal to smoke in one's home. "What Mr. Schofield has been doing, smoking in his home, is perfectly lawful," said Henry A. Goodman, a Dedham lawyer. Nonetheless, Schofield agreed to pay Burrage a settlement yesterday because it was less expensive to do that than to pay for his defense at trial, Goodman said. The case against DeAngelo is expected to raise thorny questions about the rights of people to smoke inside their own apartments and the duties of real estate brokers to disclose accurate information about smoking to prospective buyers. Click above for the full report.
2/3: The following is from a Jan. 26th Mercury News article: Santa Clara County took aim Tuesday at smokers and drinkers, with proposals to ban smoking in apartment buildings and toughen penalties for those who provide alcohol to minors. The smoking proposal was unveiled by Supervisor Ken Yeager, who was sworn in as the board's new president. It echoes a controversial law passed last year by Belmont, which garnered national headlines. ... But his proposed ban on smoking in apartment buildings takes its inspiration from further north. Belmont last year became California's first city to install such a ban; Richmond has followed suit, and Menlo Park council members are still weighing the issue. Yeager's proposal differs in that it would not target condominiums or townhomes. Yeager also wants the county to ban smoking in parks, as San Jose has done, and to prohibit pharmacies from selling cigarettes. Click above for full article.
2/1: The following is from a January 31st Boston Herald article: Mayor Thomas M. Menino is opening a new front in his war against tobacco: the city's cigarette-riden housing projects, which he vows to make smoke-free in the next four years. "What we are trying to do is make a healthier environment for people who work and live in our city," Menino told the Herald. By this summer, smoking could be banned in more than 100 new units in Boston Housing Authority public housing, which currently sees rates of smoking 50 percent higher than the general population. According to a 2006 city survey, 15.5 percent of nonpublic housing residents smoke, compared to 23 percent of BHA renters. ... The newly built smoke-free units include: 14 at Franklin Hill in Dorchester that opened in October; up to 100 at Roslindale's Washington-Beech that will open in August; and 100 at Old Colony by 2012. While those units represent less than 2 percent of the BHA's 12,000 units, it's a start, said Menino. "I would think in the next three to four years every public housing unit will be a smoke-free unit," he said. The ban comes amid a perfect storm of factors, according to BHA officials: Demand by parents. Children in public housing are more likely to have asthma and to live with or around cigarette smoke, which triggers asthma attacks. "People are trying to escape second-hand smoke and so we're trying to create this option for folks," said BHA director of planning Kate Bennett. Pressure from the feds. In July, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development "strongly encouraged" public housing authorities go smoke-free. Click above for the full article and two related articles.
1/29: The following is from a TV New Zealand report: Half the nation, including smokers, support completely banning cigarettes within 10 years, a study has found. The 2008 Health and Lifestyles Survey compiled nationwide interviews from the Health Sponsorship Council of 1608 people, including 422 smokers, and has just been published in the NZ Medical Journal. It found 49.8% of people agreed cigarettes should no longer be sold in New Zealand in 10 years, 30.3% disagreed and 19.9% neither agreed nor disagreed. Of the smokers surveyed, 26.2% agreed and 55.3% disagreed. The study also showed public support for plain, unbranded cigarette packets and fewer tobacco retailers. Pacific Islanders, in particular, showed strong support for the measures. One of the study's authors, Dr George Thomson, from the University of Otago, Wellington, called on the Government to take action. "There's now a need for politicians to embrace and act on the idea of a foreseeable and planned end to tobacco sales through a predicable timetable by 2020. The public wants more defined action to reduce smoking, and not a series of incremental steps." Click above to access the full story.
1/28: According to a January 26th Post-Tribune report: Rather than watch it die a death of a thousand cuts, State Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary angrily withdrew a bill Monday that would have banned smoking in public places all over Indiana. Whether or not he'll call it back before this year's session ends isn't clear. "I'll have to do some real soul searching on that," Brown, a Democrat, said. As written, the bill would ban smoking in all public places except casinos, an exception Brown said he made to avoid becoming a target of gaming lobbyists. However, the bill was amended three times Monday, with Brown offering the first. Brown's amendment would exempt new casinos from local smoking ordinances if such a law exists in the community. The second amendment, offered by Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, would exempt bars, taverns, private clubs and fraternal organizations. That, Brown said, defeated the point of his bill. "I can't for the life of me figure out some of the members of my own caucus," Brown said. The third amendment, offered by Rep. Edward Clere, R-New Albany, exempted tobacco businesses from the smoking ban. After it passed, Brown saw more amendments coming and pulled his bill. Click above to access the full report.
1/20: On January 19th, the American Lung Association in Vermont is launching Smokefree Housing Vermont at www.smokefreehousingvt.org The website will be the first of its kind in Vermont and will serve as a resource for the state's tenants, landlords and property managers. The site includes information on the benefits of smokefree housing for landlords, steps to implement a policy including lease language and tenant correspondence, and tips for ensuring awareness and compliance. Renters can find tips on communicating with landlords, information on tenants' rights and facts about secondhand smoke. To access the site, click above.
1/12: The Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is holding its annual statewide conference in Salt Lake City on January 12th. The keynote will be given by Greg Connelly of Massachusetts who will discuss Federal, State & Local Tobacco Control in the 21st Century. Jim Bergman of SFELP will do two presentations on Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing: Blazing Trails _ Rapidly. One session will be for housing authority directors and staff, and the second will be for health and tobacco control professionals. To access the 57-slide PowerPoint that Bergman will use, click above. To access a pdf copy of the ppt presentation, click here.
1/11: According to a January 5, 2010 press release: Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.), long known for its mission to promote health and quality of life through education, announced that it has received a grant from the Washington State Department of Health for creation of the Washington Public Housing Tobacco Prevention Network. Under terms of the agreement, C.H.E.F.'s program will be implemented over a two-year period. Awarded to C.H.E.F. in collaboration with its partners, the Association of Washington Housing Authorities (AWHA) and Pacific Northwest Regional Council of National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (PNRC-NAHRO), the work under the grant will establish a network whose goal is to develop a tobacco-free environment for public housing, promote resistance to tobacco industry marketing, identify and offer smoking cessation support and resources for public housing residents, and bring partners together to effect systems change. Since the project will assist housing authorities in their efforts to adopt and implement smoke-free policies, change norms, and assist residents with connecting to cessation services, several housing authorities throughout Washington State have been recruited to participate in the two-year pilot project. The participating housing authorities include those in Bellingham / Whatcom County, Bremerton, Vancouver, Everett, Grant County, Renton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Walla Walla. Click above to access the full press release.
1/11: The following is from a North Carolina news report: Little has changed at the Juggling Gypsy Cafe and Hookah bar in Wilmington since the start of the smoking ban in North Carolina Saturday. Patrons continue to smoke. However, this is not an act of civil disobedience. Bar manager Denny Best says bar management has found what it believes to be a loophole in the new ban, allowing customers to continue to smoke tobacco through the water pipes.... However, buried at the very end of the smoking ban legislation is an exemption for actors on a live production set. So, thanks to a web cam and a streaming web site, the Juggling Gypsy is now a stage, and all the patrons its players. Click above to access the news story.
1/7: Kerry Cork of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium has written an article of the above title for the National Association of Local Boards of Health's NewsBrief. The article discusses the various issues surrounding e-cigarettes, including the vapors given off by them To access the article, in pdf, click above.
1/6: According to a news report: Smoking at all inpatient psychiatric facilities will be banned beginning Monday by the Alabama Department of Mental Health. The new tobacco-free initiative will affect Tuscaloosa's state mental health facilities, including Bryce Hospital, which now bans smoking inside its buildings but allows smoking on the grounds. The new policy prohibits tobacco products anywhere on campus by patients, visitors, staff or any other individuals. People with mental illnesses are two to three times more likely than the general population to be dependent on nicotine, research has shown. "People with a mental illness tend to live 25 years less than the average citizen," said John Ziegler, mental health department spokesman. "The main reason for that is not the mental illness, it's the unhealthy lifestyle choices." Click above for the full article.
1/6: According to a Denver Post report: Denver's Curious Theatre will petition the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to smoke non-tobacco products in its theatrical productions, artistic director Chip Walton announced Wednesday [Dec. 30th]. For three years, Curious has unsuccessfully argued in various courts that it should be exempt from the state's indoor smoking ban, contending that smoking is a form of creative expression that should be protected under free-speech rights. But in a 6-1 vote Dec. 14, the Colorado Supreme Court refused to grant live theaters an exemption, saying the promotion of public health supersedes the right to free speech. Curious says it has never argued for the right to smoke actual tobacco products. The company, along with co-plaintiffs Paragon Theatre and the now defunct Theatre 13, asked instead to be allowed to smoke noncarcinogenic herbs when smoking is called for in plays. But the Colorado statute specifically prohibits smoking any material that is packaged, including herbs or teas. ... There is no guarantee the Supreme Court will hear Curious' petition, which Walton expects to be filed in March. Walton admits it's a longshot. Click above for the full article.
1/4/10: According to a Jan. 2nd news report from Channel 5 in Arkansas: The Little Rock Housing Authority has banned smoking at one of three city-run apartment complexes as part of a plan to make all of its properties smoke-free by 2012. The ban on smoking at Cumberland Towers in downtown Little Rock began Friday [January 1, 2010], and similar bans at Parris Towers and Powell Towers will go into effect in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Housing Authority Director Shelly Ehenger says the regulatory agency has been working on its smoke-free plan since 2008. The apartment complexes are for low-income families, senior citizens and those with disabilities. To live at Cumberland Towers or Parris Towers, a resident must be at least 50. A lighted gazebo will be built on the wooded lawn for use by those who can't or won't quit smoking. Click above to access the story. For a related story on this, click here.
1/4/10: The following is from a Jan. 2nd news report: A local [Portsmouth, N.H.] man police say was smoking in public housing has been arrested on two misdemeanor charges alleging his cigarette caused a Dec. 8 fire that required the partial evacuation of Margeson Apartments on Middle Street. Thomas Perkins, 62, of 245 Middle Street, Apt. 209 was arrested on a Class B misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct and criminal mischief, according to Portsmouth Detectives Capt. Corey MacDonald. Police say the arrest stems from an investigation of a Dec. 8 fire at the Margeson Apartments complex that serves as public housing for the elderly and disabled. The fire required the evacuation of many of the building's residents and a full response by the Portsmouth Fire Department that caused the shutting down of a portion of Middle Street. The blaze was contained to a single apartment, but resulted in a smoke condition in the apartment building. MacDonald said Perkins is alleged to have placed the residents of Margeson Apartments in dangerous of serious bodily injury in that he smoked cigarettes in the apartment contrary to public housing rules. Police said Perkins cigarette caused the fire to start allege the man failed to extinguish the fire or raise an alarm upon discovering the fire. Perkins was taken into custody without incident and his misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to a $1,200 fine, but do not carry the possibility of any jail time. Perkins was released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail, with the conditions of no smoking on Portsmouth Housing Property and no alcohol use. Click above to access the news report.
12/30/09: The following is from a Channel 14 news report: Most bars and restaurants in North Carolina will be smoke-free by the end of the week, as the state's smoking ban goes into effect Jan. 2. This week, many establishments are making some last-minute preparations to get ready for the new requirements. "We expect business owners to have posted No Smoking Signs and also have removed all ash trays from their establishments," said Lovemore Masakadza, who is with the Mecklenburg County Health Department. The only places exempt are private, nonprofit clubs, so bars and nightclubs must comply even if they have membership lists. Corydon Himelberger, general manager of Howl at the Moon, isn't upset about the changes. "It is an employee health right to go to work and not have smoke blown on you," he said. Click above for full story.
12/30: The following is from a Dec. 29th Science Daily news report about a new research study of the above title: Children regularly exposed to tobacco smoke at home were more likely to develop early emphysema in adulthood. This finding by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health suggests that the lungs may not recover completely from the effects of early-life exposures to tobacco smoke (ETS). The study is published in the December 2009 American Journal of Epidemiology. This population-based research is the first to examine the association of childhood ETS with early emphysema by CT scan in nonsmokers. Approximately half of the participants in this large multiethnic cohort had at least one regular cigarette smoker in their childhood home. Participants with more childhood ETS exposure had more emphysema-like lung pixels; an average of 20% of scan pixels were emphysema-like for those who lived with two or more smokers as a child, compared with 18% for those who lived with one regular smoker, or 17% for those who said that they did not live with a regular inside smoker as a child. [This study highlights the value of smoke-free policies in homes and multi-unit dwellings.] To access the news story, click above. For a copy of the abstract of this research, click here.
12/29: The following is from an end-of-the-year SFELP press release: "As the first decade of the 21st century ends, we find that the growth in Michigan and nationally in smoke-free multi-unit housing has been enormous -- going from virtually no smoke-free housing in 2000 to many hundreds of thousands of units today," according to Jim Bergman, Co-Director of The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which operates the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP). "In 2000, it was virtually impossible to find apartment or condominium buildings that were smoke-free in all the living units, as well as the common areas. This was true in Michigan and in almost every state in the nation. By 2005, a number of states, including Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, and California had begun to develop a growing supply of smoke-free apartments. By the end of the decade, virtually every state has smoke-free multi-unit housing available, and many states have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of smoke-free units," said Bergman. ... In public housing, funded by the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and other federal and state entities, the growth in smoke-free housing has been equally as great, if not greater. In 2000, there were only two public housing authorities in the nation that had smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings (Kearney, NE and Fort Pierce, FL). By the end of 2003, just eleven housing authorities had smoke-free policies. By January, 2005, that number had only risen to fifteen. But, then the growth sky-rocketed. As of December, 2009, at least 136 public housing authorities in 19 states had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. The growth in the entire decade was 6700%; since December, 2003, the growth was 1136%; and the growth in the past 5 years has been over 800%. In Michigan, the Cadillac Housing Commission was the first public housing authority to adopt a smoke-free policy, doing so in July, 2005. Today, thirty-two local Michigan housing commissions have adopted smoke-free policies, covering about 56 apartment buildings/developments and over 60 townhouses/scattered site units, with about 4,158 apartment units. That is a 3100% increase in the 48 months since January, 2006. To access the full press release, click above.
12/28: The following is from a Dec. 27th Boston Globe report: A woman died yesterday morning in a two-alarm fire sparked by a cigarette, according to fire officials. Residents of the city-owned high-rise at 95 Martensen St., which houses elderly, low-income, and disabled residents, said they had warned 62-year-old Donna Marani not to smoke in her apartment - especially because she regularly used home oxygen devices. "She was a smoker," said Jenn Fell, 31, who lives in the building with her two young sons. "Several people in the building have warned her about smoking while on oxygen. Smoking can be very dangerous, and unfortunately everybody lost a really good friend out of this tragedy." State, local, and Norfolk County officials determined yesterday afternoon that a cigarette ignited the fire. "The investigation revealed the cause to be consistent with a smoking-related fire," State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan told the Globe yesterday. "And there was home oxygen in the apartment." ... While firefighters managed to contain the fire to Marani's apartment, significant water and smoke damage could be seen throughout the building yesterday. Cleanup crews were on hand all afternoon. Most residents were allowed to return home, but more than a dozen from units near Marani's apartment were being sheltered at a Salvation Army facility, fire officials said. ... Since 1997, 18 people have died and more than 30 others have been severely burned or suffered serious smoke inhalation in fires across the state involving people who smoked while using a home oxygen system, Coan said. Air is about 21 percent oxygen, but medical tanks are filled with 100 percent oxygen, which can fuel intense flames. "Fires related to smoking and use of home oxygen have been a great concern of mine for a long time," Coan said. "We have a group made up of fire service personnel, members of the medical community, oxygen manufacturers, the Red Cross, and others focused on a public education campaign to highlight the dangers." [It should be noted that a no-smoking policy could have prevented this tragedy.] Click above to access the full report.
12/28: The following is from a Dec. 13th Holland Sentinel article: A new state law intended to reduce the fire hazard posed by smoldering cigarettes has frustrated some Michigan smokers, who complain that the safer cigarettes taste foul. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires all cigarettes sold in Michigan to be engineered to automatically extinguish when left unattended. To comply, cigarette companies usually add two or three special bands to the cigarettes' paper that, when lit, reduce the flow of oxygen to the tobacco, thereby slowing the stick's rate of burn. If a smoker does not draw on the lit cigarette, the bands effectively smother it. ... Gov. Jennifer Granholm approved the law in June, making Michigan the 49th state to pass fire-safe cigarette legislation. The new cigarettes won't end all fires started by smoking materials, but they will help lower the numbers of deaths and injuries caused by them, said Ronald Farr, Michigan's Fire Marshal. "It's a life-safety issue," he said. "That's the single biggest point for them." Fires caused by smoking-related materials in Michigan killed four people last year and injured 33 others, including seven firefighters, according to the state's Bureau of Fire Services. Nationwide, fires ignited by cigarettes claimed 780 lives in the United States in 2006, according to the Massachussetts-based National Fire Protection Association. Click above to access the full article.
12/22: The following is from a Dec. 20th Fox 21 News report: Residents of Duluth high rise buildings will be living in smoke_free facilities by spring of next year. Last month, the Duluth Housing and Rehabilitation Authority passed a smoking ban, effective May of 2010. American Lung Association representatives say the ban is an attempt to prevent the dangerous effects of second_hand smoke. Currently, residents at any of the six Duluth high rise, low-income housing buildings can smoke in their private apartments. Soon, they will have to leave the building before lighting up. And many non_smoking residents are pleased. "I think it's a good idea, because second hand smoke and everything... It's not good for our health," said King Manor resident, Ann Abrahm. "They have shared ventilation. They have shared systems. And we know from the Surgeon General's report in 2006 that there is no safe level exposure to second_hand smoke," said Pat McKone. McKone is the director for mission programs for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. Click above to access the full report.
12/18: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will sign into law Friday, Dec. 18th, a ban on indoor smoking in public places. The Legislature passed the bill Dec. 10 after years of stalemates over exceptions in the law. The measure allows smoking in three Detroit casinos, cigar bars, specialty tobacco shops, home offices and motor vehicles, including commercial trucks. The smoking ban, which takes effect May 1, 2010, makes Michigan the 38th state with a ban. To access a copy of the new law click above.
12/18: The World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society's third edition of The Tobacco Atlas is now online. The Atlas provides current world data on topics such as tobacco use, secondhand smoke, smoke-free areas, and tobacco litigation. It also has predictions on the future tobacco epidemic. To access a copy of the Atlas, click above.
12/17: University of Michigan School of Public Health Dean Kenneth Warner discusses the benefits of the new smoking ban passed by the Michigan Senate and House. You can hear this five-minute Podcast by clicking above.
12/17: The latest issue of the Legal Update, the newsletter of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, is now available. This issue features the Legal Consortium's most recent publication, "Infiltration of Secondhand Smoke into Condominiums, Apartments and Other Multi-Unit Dwellings: 2009" written by SFELP's consulting attorney Susan Schoenmarklin. This expanded update of the 2004 law synopsis covers recent smoke-free housing laws and policies of interest to landlords, condominium associations and tenants. The Legal Update also includes overviews of recent important tobacco cases, including a landmark Massachusetts tobacco ruling that allows "healthy" smokers to sue to force tobacco companies to pay for medical monitoring to scan for diseases that may develop in the future; a $300 million ruling in the latest individual "Engle progeny" lawsuit against a major tobacco company; and legal actions related to the new federal tobacco product legislation. The issue also highlights U.S. and Canadian bans on the sale, distribution and manufacture of flavored cigarettes, and the World Health Organization's tobacco control campaign in Africa. Also featured is Eric Lindblom in the Profiles in Public Health Law section and the"Ask a Lawyer" column addresses tobacco-free policies on college campuses. Finally, links are provided to useful tobacco law-related resources and information on upcoming tobacco law events. To access the Legal Update, click above.
12/16: According to a Dec. 15th Traverse City Record-Eagle editorial: It's not easy changing public policy that's as old as dirt, no matter how much good a change will create. And you're guaranteed to make some unfriends along the way. But two local lawmakers, four members of the Northwestern Michigan College board of trustees, a Traverse City Commission majority, Munson Medical Center, the Benzie and Leelanau county boards of commissioners and hundreds of other public officials have all chose to ban smoking in virtually all workplaces plus some parks, beaches and campuses. And now, after years of wrangling the Michigan Legislature has finally approved a ban on smoking in virtually all workplaces, including bars and restaurants. State Sen. Michelle McManus, a Lake Leelanau Republican, and freshman Rep. Dan Scripps, a Leland Democrat, both voted for a bill that would make virtually all Michigan workplaces smoke-free as of May. The senate voted 24-13 last week to approve the bill. The House, which had passed similar bills in recent years, approved it again, 75-30, also last week. Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she'll sign it. ... At last, it seems the will of the people -- more than 70 percent of state residents have consistently supported a ban -- is being heeded. Despite all that Big Tobacco money to the contrary. To access the full editorial, click above.
12/16: The following is from a Dec. 15th Denver Post article: In the first decision of its kind, the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday [Dec. 14th] extinguished hopes that theater actors would be exempted from a statewide smoking ban after all but one justice voted to uphold lower-court decisions barring cigarette use in performances. The move ends a three-year state fight in which a coalition of state and national theater groups argued in multiple courts that the ban infringed on free-speech rights and interfered with their abilities to accurately produce plays. Six justices found that regardless of whether onstage smoking is a form of expression, the ban on smoking in public places is constitutional because it aims to promote public health rather than stifle free speech. No other state supreme court has decided a case involving a free-speech opposition to a state smoking ban, according to attorney A. Bruce Jones, who said his theater-company clients have not ruled out seeking a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the topic. Click above for full article.
12/11: The following is from a Dec. 10th Detroit Free Press report: The House has sent to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for signing a bill to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and all other workplaces, but allow smoking on the gaming floors of Detroit's three casinos. However, the casino bars and restaurants would be no-smoking zones. The landmark vote followed approval in the Senate on a landmark bill that anti-smoking advocates have sought for more than a decade, but which was opposed strenuously by bar and restaurant owners across the state. The smoking ban would take effect May 1, making Michigan the 38th state with some form of state ban on smoking in public areas. "We have heard the message from the people of Michigan," said Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, who cited numerous polls showing the Michigan public supporting a public smoking ban. The Senate voted 24-13 on a compromise that was led by Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks. The House soon afterward voted 75-30 to concur with the Senate version, with some House members applauding as the tally was announced. Jubilant anti-smoking advocates celebrated with hugs outside of the House chamber after the vote. "This is huge. We couldn't be more pleased," said Judy Stewart, spokesperson for the campaign for Smokefree Air. "Michigan is finally going to join the ranks of smokefree states. It's a historic day." Click above to access the Free Press article. According to a Detroit News report: The House voted 75-30 for the long-awaited measure, which makes exceptions for the three Detroit casinos, cigar bars, specialty tobacco shops, home offices and motor vehicles, including commercial trucks. The Senate voted 24-13 for the bill earlier today. To access the Detroit News article, click here. To access a copy of the bill as passed, click here.
12/11: The following is from a Dec. 10th New York Times article: State governments are collecting record revenues from tobacco companies but spending less and less of it on antismoking programs, especially in New York, a group of health and advocacy organizations said in a report released Wednesday. In the report, titled "A Broken Promise to Our Children," the organizations said state governments had reduced spending by 15 percent, to $567 million, for smoking prevention and cessation programs in the fiscal year that ended in September. State spending on antismoking programs accounted for only 2.3 percent of the more than $25 billion that states are expected to collect from tobacco taxes and payouts from the $246 billion settlement that states reached with tobacco companies in 1998, the groups said in their 11th annual report since the settlement. "It's a travesty that only a small fraction of tobacco settlement funds is actually being used to support tobacco prevention programs in states," Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association -- one of the groups behind the report -- said in a statement. States are not required to spend the money on antismoking programs. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported Wednesday that states had to fill a cumulative budget gap of $145 billion this year because of unprecedented revenue declines. States' tobacco-related revenue has grown because 14 states have raised taxes on tobacco in the recession and the payouts from the 1998 tobacco settlement increased in 2008. Click above for the full article. To access the full report, click here.
12/10: In Arkansas, the Little Rock Housing Authority and the Polk County Housing Authority have each adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their buildings. These are the first two HAs in Arkansas to adopt smoke-free policies. The Little Rock HA has adopted a smoke-free policy for all three of its high-rise buildings, with a total of 596 units in three buildings (428 units in two buildings for persons aged 50 and over, and 168 units of family housing in one building). The Polk County HA adopted a smoke-free policy for all 182 units of its housing in 6 buildings. Both HA smoke-free policies go into effect on January 1, 2010. There are now at least 136 housing authorities in the U.S. with smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. to access a list of all these HAs, click above.
12/10: The following is from a dec. 8th Detroit Free Press editorial: The Legislature has choked before, leaving residents and visitors to this fair state still gasping as they encounter smoke-filled air in public places like restaurants and bars. So let's review the arguments as lawmakers contemplate one more attempt to limit smoking in Michigan. ... In a perfect world, lawmakers would not exempt casino floors -- their workers deserve clean lungs, too -- but after years of stalemate any significant smoke-free progress would be welcome. Which leaves the hope that this time, finally, lawmakers won't keep blowing smoke. Click above for the full editorial.
12/9: The following is from a report released today: Since the November 1998 multi-state tobacco settlement, we have issued annual reports assessing whether the states are keeping their promise to use a significant portion of their settlement funds -- estimated at $246 billion over the first 25 years -- to attack the enormous public health problems posed by tobacco use in the United States. In addition to the billions they receive every year from the tobacco settlement, the states collect billions more in tobacco taxes. This latest report, issued December 9, 2009, finds that the states are collecting record amounts of tobacco revenue -- $25.1 billion this year alone -- but are spending less of it on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. In fact, states have cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by more than 15 percent in the past year. Only one state -- North Dakota -- currently funds a tobacco prevention program at the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only nine other states fund tobacco prevention at even half the CDC-recommended level, while 31 states and DC provide less than a quarter of the recommended funding. [Michigan ranks 48th out the 50 states and D.C.] This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Click above for a fulll copy of the report. For a copy of the chart ranking the states, click here.
12/8: The following is from a Dec. 7th Detroit Free Press report: It could be light up or lights out for a statewide smoking ban this week in the Legislature. Senate Republicans will take another stab at prohibiting smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. But whether to exempt Detroit's casinos remains a key question. "It's time to get it moving," said Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, who is prodding fellow Senate Republicans with a compromise. That plan would ban smoking in all public places, but possibly allow it to some extent at the Detroit casino on gaming floors, as well as in cigar bars. Smoking would be banned at the Detroit casino restaurants and hotels, possibly answering concerns of bar owners about giving a competitive advantage to the casinos. Jelinek and others said with only a couple of weeks before a long holiday break, the Legislature is under pressure to act on an issue that's been in stalemate for more than a decade. ... The issue resurfaced last week, as Senate Republicans discussed cracking a long-standing impasse: whether to exempt Detroit's three casinos and cigar bars from a smoking ban that restaurant and bar owners generally oppose. Click above for the full article.
12/4: On Dec. 1st, Julie Trotter of the Chippewa County Health Department and Jim Bergman of TCSG's Smoke-Free Environments Law Project were interviewed on Talk Radio 1400 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan concerning the MISmokeFreeApartment Initiative. This was part of a 3-day series of events in the eastern Upper Peninsula to promote smoke-free apartment policies being adopted for market-rate and affordable housing. The prior day Julie, Jim and Donna Norkoli of the Sault Tribe Community Health Services were interviewed on WSOO 1230. On Dec. 1st and 2nd, Jim did presentations on smoke-free housing in Sault Ste. Marie and Manistique. On Nov. 30th, Jim, Donna and Julie met with the Sault Tribe Housing Authority board to discuss the possibility of their adopting a smoke-free policy for some or all their approximately 500 units of housing across the Upper Peninsula. To access a podcast of the Talk Radio 1400 interview, click above.
12/4: According to a Nov. 29th Muskegon Chronicle article: Local fire officials are hailing a new law that will require manufacturers sell only self-extinguishing cigarettes in Michigan as of Jan. 1. The measure is expected to save lives and property lost to fires started by unattended smoking materials. The move is a big step forward for fire safety, local fire authorities agree. "It is a pretty significant issue in this area; It rates right behind cooking-type fires as far as the frequency of causing fires," said Fruitport Township Fire Chief Ken Doctor, a smoker himself. "We can't dictate how people live. This is just one more step in the overall fire safety process. Because smoking equipment is such a significant portion of our business, it is definitely going to have an impact." Last year, 319 fires across the state were reported to have started by cigarettes. Four people were killed and 33 people injured in those fires, which claimed a total property loss of nearly $8.5 million, said Terry Fobbs, assistant to the state fire marshal. Michigan will become the 49th state to adopt laws requiring cigarettes sold here after Jan. 1 to self-extinguish if left unattended. The measure is part of the Fire Safety Standard and Firefighter Protection Act, passed by the Michigan Legislature this summer. According to the United States Fire Administration, states such as New York that have passed fire-safe cigarette legislation have seen a 33 percent reduction in the number of fire-related deaths and injuries caused by discarded smoking materials. Click above for the full article.
11/19: According to a Nov. 15th New York Times article: The movement to ban smoking in New York City has grown so quickly that no place seems immune -- certainly not restaurants or bars, and public beaches and parks may not be far behind. Now the efforts are rapidly expanding into the living room. More landlords are moving to prohibit smoking in their apartment buildings, telling prospective tenants they can be evicted if they light up in them. This month, the Related Companies will ban smoking at some of its downtown apartment buildings because of health concerns about secondhand smoke, according to company officials. Smokers who already live in any of these buildings will not be affected, according to Jeff Brodsky, a president of Related, which is a national developer with 17 buildings in Manhattan. But any new renters must promise not to smoke at home, even if they continue to elsewhere. Kenbar Management, a local developer, is going a step further. When its new project, 1510 Lexington Avenue, opens in December, smoking will be banned in all 298 units, in addition to private and shared terraces. And the typical smoker's refuge -- directly outside the building -- is also off limits; tenants must agree not to smoke on any of the sidewalks that wrap around the building, which takes up most of a block in East Harlem, according to Kinne Yon, a Kenbar principal. The trend has predictably divided smokers and nonsmokers in New York. To access the full article, click above.
11/12: According to a Nov. 11th Santa Monica Daily Press article: There are many days warm or cool when the windows to Mike Horelick's Santa Monica apartment remain shut, keeping out ocean breezes, the fragrance of a neighbor's dinner and cigarette smoke. It's the latter that forces the local screenwriter to often seal his home, protecting his asthmatic 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son from the cigarette smoke that wafts from a neighbor's patio a floor below. "We shut the doors, we shut the windows, which is pretty inconvenient and not guaranteed to stop all the smoke anyway," he said. Horelick is part of a group of residents who are calling on the City Council to expand an ordinance that bans smoking in all common areas of apartments and condominiums to also apply to balconies and patios, arguing the current regulations, while a step in the right direction, don't go far enough. Click above to access the full article.
11/6: According to a Nov. 4th news report: Alan Pape doesn't like going into smokers' apartments. But as the maintenance mechanic for the North Bend City/Coos-Curry Housing Authorities, it's part of the job. ... By March, Pape won't have to worry about nicotine-stained walls or smelling like an ash tray at the end of the day. The two boards of commissioners for the housing authorities adopted a no-indoor-smoking policy for the apartments and buildings they own. The Woodland Apartments Preservation Inc. and Powers Housing Development Inc. -- apartments managed by the housing authorities -- also passed the same policy. The agencies provide section 8 and low-income housing in North Bend, Coos Bay, Myrtle Point, Coquille and Port Orford. Woodland and Powers have units in Empire and Powers. Ned Beman, the executive director of the Housing Authorities, said the policy will likely impact 475 residents. He estimated that about 21 percent smoke. The policy bans smokers from lighting up inside units or other buildings owned by the agencies. Those who smoke will be allowed to -- but outside at least 10 feet from a neighbor's door. It goes into effect on March 1. ... The housing authority boards have been mulling the possibility for a few years, but began seriously discussing it in September, after receiving a notice from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that urged housing authorities to adopt such policies. Beman said the boards unanimously passed the policy because they felt doing so would protect employees' health, reduce costs of preparing vacant units for rent and even the playing field for Section 8 residents who already abide by similar policies. The boards took public comment for 30 days. Those who wrote in convinced the boards to drop a proposed 25-foot smoking distance to 10 feet, but otherwise there were few complaints and some positive comments, the director said. Cleaning up a smoker's apartment -- depending on the extent of the smoke damage -- can cost up to an extra $1,000 in primer coating, paint and man hour, Beman said. And often, those units still don't smell good. Click above for the full article.
11/6: Russell Chandler has smoked for more than 50 years, but he is willing to curb his habit to be more neighbourly. He is one of approximately 90 tenants of the South Chatham Village Apartments who will have to adapt to a smoking ban coming effect at the apartment complex, Jan 1, 2010. "There's no hard feelings that they're doing that," Chandler said. Martin Vanderzwan, chairman of the apartment's board of directors, said the smoking ban has been motivated by reducing the risk of fire and reducing the known health effects of secondhand smoke. He said most of the residents responded to a survey on implementing the ban. "It was almost unanimous that we should have a nonsmoking policy," Vanderzwan said. There are 67 units in the building, including seven or eight units occupied by smokers, he said. Vanderzwan said a meeting was held with tenants where there was good dialogue and "we came to the conclusion that they're ready for something like this." He added the tenants who smoke agreed with the ban if the secondhand smoke bothers people. Vanderzwan said the ban will only apply to tenants moving into the building in the New Year who sign a new lease with the smoking ban clause included. The ban prohibits tenants, guests and service people from smoking in any area of the property, including both private and common areas, whether enclosed or outdoors. Smokers currently living in the building will be allowed to smoke inside their apartments only with windows and patio doors closed. Nick Davidovich, Chatham- Kent's tobacco enforcement officer, said he's heard of a few other apartment buildings implementing a no-smoking policy. He added the City of Waterloo recently passed a bylaw making their public housing smoke-free. "It's kind of a movement happening in Ontario towards this," Davidovich said. Click above for the full article.
11/6: The following is from a Nov. 5th news article: This is the story of two neighbors and a dispute over secondhand smoke in the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills. ... A California couple has filed a lawsuit seeking relief from their next-door neighbor's second-hand cigarette smoke. Richard and Donna Ganguet were the first to move into a gated community for people age 55 and older. That was 2006. Today, they claim the cigar and cigarette smoke wafts into their yard from the property of neighbor has caused an intolerable situation. They've tried dispersing the smoke, first with a small fan (which didn't work) and then by renting an industrial fan (which was noisy, and they didn't want to disturb other neighbors). They say they no longer sit on their patio and try to sandwich in swims in the side-yard lap pool between their neighbors' smoking sessions. The neighbor is Florence Solone. Her son, his sister and brother-in-law all live with Mrs. Solone and they smoke outdoors because, "My mother doesn't allow smoking in the house." He also says he didn't know the smoke was a problem until his mother learned of the lawsuit, which was filed last month. Click above for the full article.
10/30: The following is from an Oct. 26th Los Angeles Times editorial: Introduced in the United States two years ago, electronic cigarettes are no longer a novelty item but a popular option for many smokers -- especially those who want to quit. Inhaling on the cigarette-shaped device activates a built-in battery, which heats up a mixture of water, nicotine and propylene glycol to give the "smoker" a vapor hit of the addictive substance found in cigarettes -- but without the smoke. It even lights up at the other end, mimicking the tip of a cigarette. E-cigarettes are the latest of a wave of nicotine-packing products -- including bottled water and lollipops -- to face the wrath of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency believes it has the authority to regulate them. But marketers of the electronic devices, most of which are made in China, are putting up a big fight. They have sued, arguing that the FDA has no jurisdiction over their merchandise because, unlike nicotine patches or gum, which the agency does regulate, it is not a smoking-cessation product. They also deny the FDA's contention that e-cigarettes are a drug-delivery device, which the agency also regulates. In their zeal to avoid regulation, though, spokesmen for this fast-growing business have been engaging in doublespeak. They argue that e-cigarettes are just a "smoking alternative," and in the same breath tout their superiority over gum or patches as a way to divert smokers from tobacco products. ... The agency wants sales of the devices halted until, as with other drug products, animal studies and clinical trials determine whether they are indeed safe. We agree. A check of Internet chat sites shows that the devices are regularly used by smokers trying to quit tobacco. Should the courts rule against the FDA, Congress will have to step in. With the ever-expanding peddling of nicotine in the United States, the public needs federal oversight of attempts to advance an addictive drug. Click above to access the full editorial.
10/30: The Program Committee of the Canadian National Conference on Tobacco or Health is developing a dynamic program to present the latest evidence, research findings, programs, and activities in Canadian tobacco control and around the world. More information will be posted as plans progress. The plenary and symposia sessions will explore the critical elements of tobacco control's future, while the concurrent sessions will probe key issues including plain packaging, retail reform, Bill C-32, new products, new frontiers in second-hand smoke, industry litigation, contraband and the implication of new nicotine addiction research and the use of NRT's in cessation. There will be two sessions on smoke-free multi-unit housing (SF MUDS), and this topic will be touched on in a couple of other sessions. To see the draft program, click above.
10/29: According to an Oct. 27th WLKM report: State Rep. Matt Lori is working with a bipartisan group of House lawmakers to figure out a new strategy for getting a smoking ban signed into law. Earlier this year, the House approved legislation to ban smoking in most public places, including bars and restaurants, but that plan has since stalled in the Senate because it exempts casino gambling floors, cigar bars and tobacco shops from the proposed ban. Senate leaders have repeatedly said they will only support a total ban, so as not to create an unfair competitive advantage for some businesses over others. Last year, the Senate approved a total smoking ban, but that plan fell six votes short in the House. "It seems pretty clear the Senate is only willing to support a total ban, no exemptions, and I think we have enough support for a total ban in the House, so that's the direction I think we are going to go," said Lori, of Constantine. The first-term lawmaker said he is hopeful a vote will happened before the end of the year. Click above for the full report.
10/28: A review in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) reveals that Imperial Tobacco Canada attempted to destroy documents that contained high-quality scientific evidence that cigarette smoke was carcinogenic and addictive. These studies had significant implications for government tobacco-control programs. This is the opening analysis of the 60 scientific reports dating from 1967 to 1984. They were destroyed in Canada in 1992 but stored at British American Tobacco headquarters in the United Kingdom. "The research standards of the studies reported in the destroyed documents was equal to and, in many cases, exceeded the standards of peer-reviewed scientific research published during the same period," explains Dr. David Hammond, University of Waterloo, and coauthors. "The destroyed documents reveal a vast body of scientific evidence on the health effects of smoking." On September 28, 2009, the province of Ontario launched a $50 billion lawsuit against Imperial Tobacco. In addition, British Columbia and New Brunswick have also filed lawsuits against the company. Several of the destroyed documents report the carcinogenic components of tobacco smoke and describe testing for differences between tobacco brands (which differed little in their carcinogenic activity). Other studies considered the effect of filters. ... A total of eleven of the destroyed documents focused on original research about the effects of second-hand smoke. Most of the experiments were performed on rats. These studies indicated cellular changes from second-hand smoke. The authors write: "The scientists concluded that second-hand smoke was in fact more toxic than mainstream smoke "especially for low delivery cigarettes."" Click above for full news report.
10/27: The following is from an Oct. 22nd Las Vegas Examiner article: Lawyers for casino employees of Wynn Las Vegas have filed a class action suit citing the negative health effects of second hand smoke exposure. This is the second high profile casino employee group to file suit against employers and follows a similar action by workers at Caesar's Palace (a Harrah's property) which filed litigation proceedings this past July. The Kamber Edelson law firm from Chicago is involved in the litigation of both groups and suits. The suit alleges that chronic employee exposure to second hand smoke leads to an array of ill-health symptoms including eye irritation, coughing, sore throat, wheezing, asthma, headaches, and ingestion of carcinogenic toxins and chemicals. Further, the legalese in the suit includes evidence of measures taken by some Vegas casinos (eg Bellagio and Palazzo) to reduce exposure to smoke by employees. As pointed out in a previous Las Vegas Examiner article , casinos everywhere have always resisted smoking bans in their establishments because of the high correlation of gambling, gamblers, and smoking. They've resisted it because they expected such bans to negatively effect revenues and their bottom lines. The fact that there are numerous smoking bans in other public gathering venues and not in casinos is a direct testament to casino ownership and management's power and political influence, particularly in Las Vegas. Click above for the full article.
10/23: On October 20th, the Charlevoix Housing Commission adopted a smoke-free policy for its 62-unit Pine River Place apartments for the elderly and disabled. The policy went into effect immediately for all new residents and current residents who are not smokers, as well as guests and staff. Current residents who are smokers are exempted from the policy for as long as they live in their current unit. Under this new policy, secondhand smoke and other damage caused by smoking or tobacco products will not be considered ordinary wear and tear, and some or all of the resident's security deposit may be retained by the housing commission to cover costs of damage caused by smoking or tobacco products; damage above and beyond the amount of the security deposit may be billed to the resident. Further, it is the resident's responsibility to take steps to keep smoking residue from building up in units, including more frequent cleaning and wall washing, etc. Annual inspections of units will be utilized to ensure that apartment residents are following this part of the policy. Charlevoix becomes the 32nd public housing commission in Michigan to adopt a smoke-free policy. It has been our pleasure working with Rob Harrison, the Executive Director of the Charlevoix Housing Commission on this policy. Charlevoix is a located in northern Michigan on Lake Michigan, and is known as "Charlevoix the beautiful". The 32 Michigan housing commissions with smoke-free policies have about 56 apartment buildings/developments and over 60 townhouses/scattered site units. A total of at least 4,158 apartment units are covered by the local Michigan housing authority smoke-free policies. More are in the pipeline. There are now at least 129 housing authorities in the U.S. with smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. To access a copy of the list of 129 housing authorities in the U.S. that have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings, click above.
10/23: The Institute of Medicineon October 15th released its long-awaited report concluding that secondhand smoke causes heart attacks, while smoke-free laws prevent heart attacks and save lives. The report also finds compelling evidence that even relatively brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks. This report makes the case for smoke-free laws to the media, policy makers and other audiences. It demonstrates why states and localities that have yet to enact comprehensive laws should do so quickly; why those that still have loopholes in their laws should close them; why those currently implementing laws should make sure they are effectively implemented and strongly enforced; and why states and localities that have passed and effectively implemented comprehensive laws have done the right thing to protect health and save lives. The IOM's materials can be found by clicking above.
10/23: Warren Nisley liked the "green" features of the new Morgan at Loyola Station in Rogers Park when he was apartment hunting. The mixed-use building near Loyola University Chicago has 152 apartments, is near public transportation and boasts eco-friendly features such as water-saving fixtures and efforts to improve internal air quality with low-gas-emitting paints and a no-smoking policy for all residents and guests. The smoke-free environment wasn't the only criterion for deciding to live in the building, but it was part of a package that Nisley, 52, found appealing. "I'm more sensitive to second-hand smoke than I used to be," said the system architect for Orbitz, the travel Web site. "I don't disapprove of smoking, but I like the fact that there will be none." "We decided to design the building according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards to promote a healthy environment and lifestyle," said Pamela Austin, project manager of development for McCaffery Interests, owner of the Morgan. "No smoking seemed like a logical extension of that." Opened in May, the Morgan, 1209 W. Arthur Ave., is not the only new apartment building hanging out a no-smoking sign. AMLI 900, a 24-story rental building at 900 S. Clark St. in the South Loop, also bans smoking by residents and guests. ... The number of leases with no-smoking clauses has been growing in recent years, said Maurice Ortiz, marketing director for Apartment People, a finding service that operates from the Loop to Evanston. Still, no-smoking listings are no more than 10 to 15 percent of his firm's total. "More owners would like to establish smoke-free policies," he said, but "the market is just too competitive. The current supply of apartments in Chicago far exceeds the demand and, therefore, forces owners to be more flexible with their policies and restrictions." McCaffery and AMLI executives disagree. They contend going smoke-free is a quality-of-life amenity, a competitive advantage in some cases, thanks to changing attitudes about health and the environment. Click above for the full article.
10/19: On October 13th, the Monroe Housing Commission voted unanimously (5 to 0) to formally adopt a smoke-free policy for all their buildings; earlier, on September 8th, the board had voted to go smoke-free, but did not have the formal language of the policy before them. The policy is to go into effect November 1, 2009 for all residents, including current residents who are smokers. The housing commission has a 7-story, 148 unit, high-rise for elderly and disabled (River Park Plaza), and a 115-unit family housing building (Greenwood), plus 30 single family houses; a total of 293 units. The policy will allow smoking outdoors, but only in designated areas, if any. It was a great pleasure working with Nancy Wain, the Executive Director of the Monroe Housing Authority on this. Adoption of this policy makes Monroe the 31st housing commission in Michigan to adopt a smoke-free policy and the 125th in the nation. To access a copy of the list of 125 housing authorities in the U.S. that have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings, click above.
10/19: According to an Oct. 13th article in the Montana Kaimin newspaper: The University of Montana is on its way to becoming a tobacco-free campus by fall 2011. The UM president's office endorsed a timeline for phasing in policy starting this semester, according to UM Executive Vice President Jim Foley. The first phase includes sending questionnaires to faculty and staff, because students were already surveyed. The ASUM Senate passed a resolution supporting the plan last Wednesday. However, it's not a "take it or leave it" plan, Foley said. The steps leading to completion in 2011 will give everyone the opportunity to talk about an issue that should be discussed, he said. Julee Stearns, UM health promotion specialist and chair of the UM Tobacco Task Force that drafted the plan, said that as of Oct. 2, there are at least 322 smoke-free campuses and 172 tobacco-free campuses nationwide. Montana Tech will also be completely tobacco-free in July 2010. The tobacco-free plan, drafted at the request of UM President George Dennison, aims to ensure the campus environment is healthy and accessible for everyone, Stearns said. Stearns said 76 percent of UM students surveyed reported that they encountered more second-hand smoke on campus than in any other location. Another 71 percent support restricting tobacco use on campus and over 90 percent think it is important to address tobacco use on campus, she said. Click above for full article.
10/9: Historic news from the Waterloo Region of Ontario. On October 6th, the Community Services Committee of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (which includes the cities/townships of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Wellesley, North Dumfries, Wilmot, and Woolwich) voted to approve a smoke-free policy for all buildings and property of "regionally owned community housing" in the Waterloo Region. The policy covers about 2,700 units of "social housing", also known as "affordable or low and moderate income housing". The Waterloo Region Housing manages 2,591 community housing units owned by the Region of Waterloo, many of which are elderly and disabled housing. These units are located in Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Woolwich and Wellesley. The new policy will receive final approval at the October 14th Regional Council meeting, and the approval is certain since the Community Services Committee that voted on October 6th is a committee of the whole of the Regional Council. The new policy is historic because it is the first such public housing policy in Ontario and only the second in all of Canada. With over 2,700 units, it is also constitutes one of the largest impact policies in the country. The policy says that all new leases signed by residents after April 1, 2010 will include a provision saying that no smoking will be allowed inside their units or in common areas, and outdoor smoking by the resident will be restricted to at least 5 meters away from any windows, entrances or exits to the building. Ontario provincial laws prevent the smoke-free policy from applying to current residents. Therefore, the buildings covered will have to transition to being fully smoke-free over time, as current smokers move out. Notwithstanding the "grandfathering" of current smokers, this is a very important victory and will, undoubtedly, serve as a catalyst for other governmental units across Canada to also adopt smoke-free policies. The push for this policy began with resident complaints of secondhand smoke intrusions into apartment units. In the spring of this year, representatives of the Waterloo Region Housing Division and the Tobacco Program of the Region of Waterloo Public Health, together with tenants and the legal department, conducted a detailed study of the matter, met with residents, conducted resident surveys, and produced a report which was presented to the Community Services Committee. Among the key players in this process were: Mary Sehl, Manager of Tobacco Programs for the Region of Waterloo Public Health; Irwin Peters, Manager of Waterloo Region Housing; and Laurie Nagge, Public Health Nurse in the Tobacco Program. Many others were also deeply involved in this victory, including Pippa Beck of the Non-Smokers Rights Association, and other tobacco control leaders across Ontario and Canada. Jim Bergman of the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project of The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. had the pleasure to have also worked with the Waterloo Region folks, and he was invited to speak at the October 6th hearing, together with Brian King of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. The agenda for the meeting, with a link to the smoke-free housing report, can be accessed by clicking above.
10/9: The HUD Eco-Wise newsletter for September has its lead story "HUD Encourages PHAs to Become Smoke-Free". The article describes the HUD Notice issued on July 17th which strongly encourages public housing authorities (PHAs) to adopt smoke-free policies for their buildings. This very important Notice was a very strong statement from HUD to PHAs that HUD affirms that such smoke-free policies are legal and that it make great sense from a health perspective and as a way of reducing maintenance costs to PHAs. To access the article, in pdf format, click above.
10/1: According to a Sept. 24th Las Vegas Sun report: The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a voter-approved ban on smoking in such places as schools and indoor places of employment was constitutional. But the court held that the criminal sanctions could not be imposed because the language was vague. Voters in 2006 approved a change in the law to ban smoking in such places as schools and indoor places of employment. But the law exempted gaming areas in casinos, stand-alone bars, strip clubs and brothels. The passage was immediately challenged by businesses including Flamingo Paradise Gaming, Terrible's Hotel and Casino, the Nevada Tavern Owners Association and Cardivan Corporation. Clark County District Judge Douglas Herndon ruled the law was unconstitutionally vague for criminal enforcement. But it survived the test for civil enforcement. Chief Justice James Hardesty, who wrote the majority Supreme Court opinion, said the criminal portion of the law failed to provide sufficient notice of what conduct is prohibited and it allows for arbitrary enforcement. Click above for the full article.
9/30: The following is from a news note on the web site of the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging (AAHSA): Public and Indian housing authorities are permitted and "strongly" encouraged to implement non-smoking policies -- including smoking cessation at lease renewal -- the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced July 17, 2009, signaling that an agencywide shift toward smoke-free federally assisted housing may be in the offing. AAHSA views this as an encouraging development given that, as HUD noted, elderly populations -- which make up 15 percent of the residents living in public housing -- are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of smoking. Even though HUD's notice only applies to public and Indian housing, it's possible that HUD's multifamily office could follow suit with similar guidance. Until that time, the PIH notice provides guidance that can be helpful for providers interested in having smoke free environments in senior housing. Environmental Tobacco Smoke, officials said, can migrate between multifamily housing units, causing respiratory illness, heart disease, cancer and other ill effects. Fire is another concern. Federal data show that in multifamily buildings, 26 percent of fire deaths in 2005 were smoking-related -- the leading cause of fire deaths. "By reducing the public health risks associated with tobacco use, this notice will enhance the effectiveness of the Department's efforts to provide increased public health protection for residents of public housing," HUD said. PHAs have wide latitude to stamp out smoking, as long as they stay within state and local laws, HUD said. More than 114 PHAs and housing commissions around the country have gone non-smoking in one or more apartment buildings so far, according to the Smoke-Free Environments Law Project at The Center for Social Gerontology, a Michigan-based organization that keeps a running tally of smoke-free policies in public housing. With this new notice, there could be a broad proliferation of non-smoking public housing policies around the country. Click above to access the AAHSA note.
9/29: The following is from a September 26th The Record article: Complaints from tenants about second-hand smoke have prompted Waterloo Region to consider banning smoking in their multi-unit dwellings. "In general, I would support some kind of restrictions with respect to second-hand smoke" said Coun. Sean Strickland, chair of regional council's community services committee, which oversees regional housing. A report on the issue is slated to be before regional council next month. ... While provincial laws ban smoking in common areas of apartment and condominium buildings, they do not prohibit smoking in private units. Canadian courts have recognized the need to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, the regional report said. Recently, some residential tribunals have ruled that second-hand smoke seeping into a tenant's home constitutes an unreasonable disturbance and ordered remedies ranging from repairs to buildings to permission to break leases. And many landlords in Ontario have included no-smoking clauses in new tenancy agreements, the report said. About 80 American public housing organizations have adopted smoke-free policies; and more Canadian municipalities, like the City of Hamilton, are getting on board. Click above to access the full article.
9/23: According to a Sept. 21st BBC article: Bans on smoking in public places have had a bigger impact on preventing heart attacks than ever expected, data shows. Smoking bans cut the number of heart attacks in Europe and North America by up to a third, two studies report. This "heart gain" is far greater than both originally anticipated and the 10% figure recently quoted by England's Department of Health. The studies appear in two leading journals - Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Heart attacks in the UK alone affect an estimated 275,000 people and kill 146,000 each year. Earlier this month it was announced that heart attack rates fell by about 10% in England in the year after the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in July 2007 - which is more than originally anticipated. But the latest work, based on the results of numerous different studies collectively involving millions of people, indicated that smoking bans have reduced heart attack rates by as much as 26% per year. Dr James Lightwood, of the University of California at San Francisco, led the Circulation study that pooled together 13 separate analyses. His team found that heart attack rates across Europe and North America started to drop immediately following implementation of anti-smoking laws, reaching 17% after one year, then continuing to decline over time, with a 36% drop three years after enacting the restrictions. Dr Lightwood said: "While we obviously won't bring heart attack rates to zero, these findings give us evidence that in the short-to-medium-term, smoking bans will prevent a lot of heart attacks. "This study adds to the already strong evidence that second-hand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100% smoke-free laws in all workplaces and public places is something we can do to protect the public." To access the full article, click above.
9/16: The following is from a Sept. 15th Washington Post article: Rockville officials are planning friendly little signs. Maybe something like: "Children at Play -- Please Smoke 40 Feet Away From the Playground." That's no nanny-state overreach, they insist. It's about as slight an inconvenience as the city can muster. "We're really not asking them to go too far out of their way," said Burt Hall, Rockville's director of recreation and parks. The city council voted Monday night to ban lighting up near playgrounds in city parks. Rockville's park advisory board had unanimously endorsed the plan, which sprang from a few complaints. Even tighter rules may be on the way. Some residents had pushed for a total ban on smoking in parks, a concept also floated Monday by a top health official in New York City. That idea was not voted on Monday, but most on the council said they would be open to considering a broader ban later. "We're supposed to be outdoors being healthy, not smoking or spreading secondhand smoke to others," Mayor Susan R. Hoffmann said. The playground proposal emerged from fertile territory for smoking bans. Montgomery County's restaurant smoking ban, which took effect in 2003, was touted as a trendsetter, and Montgomery College bans the use of all tobacco products on campus, even in private cars. In Rockville, smoking is banned at a dog park. "It wasn't a huge groundswell. We didn't hear from hundreds of people. We heard from three. It was a good idea. It's actually a no-brainer," Hall said. "Secondhand smoke is proven dangerous. It's also obnoxious." Click above for full article.
9/15: The Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority (BCACHA) has adopted a smoke-free policy for all of its 3 buildings, with 214 units of elderly, disabled and family housing. The policy will be effective on November 1, 2009. Idaho is taking a real lead on smoke-free multi-unit housing for low-income people. Together with the Nampa Housing Authority and the Caldwell Housing Authority, I believe they now have their three biggest housing authorities in Idaho all with smoke-free policies for all their housing. Nampa was first in the fall of 2007, and Caldwell followed on January 1, 2009. Congratulations to all the Idaho folks who worked on this. We're pleased to have been able to play a small part in this. To access the BCACHA web site click above. To access our listing of smoke-free housing authorities, click here.
9/15: The following is from a Sept. 14th New York Times report: When New York City's smoking ban took effect in 2003, cigarette and cigar puffers were driven outdoors. But soon the outdoors -- or at least much of it -- may no longer be an option. The city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, announced on Monday that the Bloomberg administration would seek to ban smoking in city parks and beaches. Such bans are rare but not unprecedented. A number of municipalities have banned smoking in outdoor parks, playgrounds and beaches. In 2007, Los Angeles prohibited smoking in its city parks in 2007, and Chicago banned smoking along its beachfront and in parks with playgrounds and play lots. This year, California lawmakers took up a measure to prohibit smoking in state parks and beaches. The proposed ban on smoking was contained on Page 10 of a 41-page document [pdf], "Take Care New York 2012," that put forth health policy goals for the next three years, but it quickly became the focus of attention on Monday. Dr. Farley said the proposal -- which may require the approval of the City Council -- was part of a broader strategy to further curb smoking rates, which have plummeted in much of the city in recent years. The strategy would, among other things, include increasing local, state and federal taxes on tobacco and urging organizations and businesses in the city to reject financing and sponsorship from the tobacco industry. The smoking rate in New York City fell to 16.9 percent in 2007 from 21.5 percent in 2002, the year the city enacted a ban on workplace smoking. The proposal to ban smoking in parks and beaches drew praise from public health advocates and criticism from one of the nation's biggest tobacco manufacturers. Click above for the full article.
9/14: The following is from an Op-Ed piece in the Sept. 11th Detroit Free Press by Univ. of Michigan professor Ken Warner: Gov. Jennifer Granholm's budget plan includes a tax increase on cigarettes and other tobacco products. These tax changes are reasonable and strongly supported by voters. ... Raising tobacco taxes will generate needed revenue for Michigan, and a portion of that revenue should be used to fund tobacco prevention and to help people quit. Studies in other states show that investing in tobacco prevention simultaneously improves health and saves money. For example, between 1989 _ when the state-funded California tobacco prevention program began _ and 2004, the tobacco program saved $86 billion in health care costs while the state spent $1.8 billion on the program, for a nearly 50-1 return on investment. Gov. Granholm proposed a 25-cent increase in the cigarette tax and a doubling of the tax on other tobacco products. While these increases would reap health and economic benefits, a more significant increase would have a larger impact on both the public's health and the health of the budget. A 50-cent cigarette tax increase would raise $108 million in new annual revenue, while equalizing the tax on other tobacco products would raise another $59 million. In addition, a 50-cent increase in the price of cigarettes would prevent 48,600 of Michigan's children from becoming smokers. Equalizing other tobacco taxes with a $2.50 cigarette tax would reduce youth tobacco use by almost half. Click above for the full Op-Ed piece.
9/11: On September 8th, the Monroe Housing Commission voted unanimously (5 to 0) to adopt a smoke-free policy for all their buildings. The policy is to go into effect November 1, 2009 for all residents, including current residents who are smokers. The housing commission has a 7-story, 148 unit, high-rise for elderly and disabled (River Park Plaza), and a 115-unit family housing building (Greenwood), plus 30 single family houses; a total of 293 units. The policy will allow smoking outdoors, but only in designated areas, if any. It was a great pleasure working with Nancy Wain, the Executive Director of the Monroe Housing Authority on this. Adoption of this policy makes Monroe the 31st housing commission in Michigan to adopt a smoke-free policy and the 125th in the nation. To access a copy of the list of 125 housing authorities in the U.S. that have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings, click above.
9/8: According to a Sept. 4th Traverse City Record-Eagle article: Leaders in Leelanau and Benzie counties made their communities' indoor workplaces smoke-free. The law is a welcome change that will prevent public exposure to dangerous second-hand smoke, some believe, while others suggest the new law infringes on free enterprise and individual choice. The new regulation does not impact bars, restaurants, tobacco shops and tribal casinos and will become effective Nov. 16. "I think it's a great idea," said Ed Beuerle, owner of Northern Lumber Company in Suttons Bay. Smoking already is forbidden at his business, primarily because there is "a lot of lumber laying around," he said, but it's good policy for all businesses. "It's more healthy for employees working in the stores and for customers. If people want to smoke, they can walk outside and smoke," Beuerle said. The Leelanau County Board of Commissioners approved the measure last month and Benzie County leaders did the same in July. Click above to acess the full article.
9/4: According to a Sept. 1st Lawrence Journal-World article: Gov. Mark Parkinson on Tuesday said he would push for a statewide ban on smoking in public places when the Legislature convenes in January, and he may propose increasing the cigarette tax. "We are going to put our full effort behind it," Parkinson said of the smoking ban. His comment, made during a speech to the Governor's Council on Fitness, drew applause. Andrew Allison, acting director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, said he was pleased to hear of Parkinson's support of a clean indoor air law. Click above for the full article.
9/2: The latest issue of the Legal Update, the newsletter of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, is now available. This issue features three new publications from the Consortium, two of which address questions you may have about the landmark Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which President Obama signed into law June 22, 2009. The first publication describes key provisions of the new legislation; the second describes how the new law is likely to impact tobacco control measures state and local governments can take now that the FDA will regulate tobacco products and tobacco product marketing. Our third new publication is an expansion and update of Legal Authority to Regulate Smoking and Common Threats and Challenges: 2009, written by Cheryl Sbarra, J.D., author of our 2004 synopsis. The Legal Update also features items on a few significant tobacco lawsuits, including the latest in e-cigarette litigation, a federal class action lawsuit against Caesar's Palace casino over worker exposure to secondhand smoke, and an employment case involving a worker who was fired for smoking off the job. We include an Ask A Lawyer piece by SFELP's Jim Bergman on smoking in public housing, and items on recent smoke-free laws in Brazil and Taiwan. We also introduce a new Profiles in Public Health Law feature, which showcases individuals with distinguished careers and records of accomplishments in public health law; SFELP's Cliff Douglas is featured. Finally, we provide links to useful tobacco law-related resources and information on upcoming tobacco law events. To access the Legal Update, click above.
8/28: On August 26, 2009 at the Texas Housing Association Annual Conference in Fort Worth, SFELP Director Jim Bergman gave a presentation of the above title. The presentation focused on smoke-free policies in public housing, with special attention to the HUD notice issued on July 17, 2009 in which HUD strongly encouraged public housing authorities (PHAs) to adopt smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. Included in the 56-slide PowerPoint presentation was additional information on ways in which HUD was now encouraging PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies, including in their 2009 Healthy Homes Strategic Plan and in their scoring for the award of HUD stimulus funds to PHAs. Also included in the presentation was information on the cost savings and fire prevention reasons for adopting smoke-free policies, as well as demographic and marketing reasons for doing so. Examples were provided of public housing and other affordable housing entities that have adopted smoke-free policies, as well as housing industry trends. To access the 56-slide PowerPoint presentation, click above. To access a pdf copy of the presentation, with 6-slides per page, click on here. To access a copy of the HUD July 17, 2009 Notice click here.
8/6: According to an August 5th story in the New york City Metro: Christie Ewen's neighbor is a smoker whose secondhand smoke come through the vents and she's suing him to make him stop. "We have to keep the windows open," Ewen said. "In the winter it's impossible. In the summer we get mosquitoes." Ewen, 38, says her 3-year-old daughter has respiratory problems and cigarette smoke keeps the family up at night in their $2 million Tribeca condo. "It's a common complaint, but not a common lawsuit," said David Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer not involved with the case. The neighbor could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ewen failed to rally the two-thirds of the 250 apartments she needed to make 200 Chambers Street a smoke-free building. While apartment life spawns complaints, it has also bred respect for people's right to behave as they want within the law. "It's my domain, my castle," said smoker Hector Fonseca, 50, of Staten Island. "I should be able to do what I want in private." "People can't play music after 10. You can't cure fish in your home," Ewen said. "There are rules." To access the story, click above.
8/6: On July 17th, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a Notice (PIH-2009-21 (HA)) titled "Non-Smoking Policies in Public Housing". The notice stated that HUD "strongly encourages Public housing Authorities (PHAs) to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units." The notice goes on to encourage PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies in their buildings, including in common areas and in individual units. The HUD notice describes the health problems associated with secondhand smoke and also points out the additional costs to PHAs of rehabbing units in which smokers have lived. This is an extremely important statement by HUD and is likely to encourage many more PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies. Already about 120 PHAs have adopted smoke-free policies for some or all their buildings. To access the HUD notice on the SFELP site, click above.
7/13: The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project maintains this up-dated listing of all the public housing authorities/commissions in the U.S. that we know of which have adopted smoke-free policies for one or more of their apartment buildings. The listing is done largely in the order in which the policies have been adopted. As of May, 2009, at least 114 local housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their apartment buildings, with about 96 being adopted since the beginning of January, 2005; an average of over 1.8 per month. That constitutes an increase in the number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of about 660% in 53 months. The 17 states with such policies include Michigan (29), Minnesota (19), Maine (18), Colorado (11), California (7), Nebraska (6), Washington (5), New Hampshire (3), Oregon (3), Alaska (3) New Jersey (2), Wisconsin (2), Idaho (2), Florida, Montana, Indiana, and Kentucky. To access the listing, in pdf format, click above.
7/2: The Malibu City Council on Monday June 22nd voted to adopt an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in public open spaces beginning July 31. The ordinance, as proposed, would ban smoking within 20 feet of a public event, such as a farmers' market. It would also ban smoking within 20 feet of outdoor dining areas on public or private property, such as hotels and supermarkets. Businesses with outdoor dining areas would be also required to conspicuously post and maintain "no smoking" signs within the area. The cost to implement such an ordinance has not yet been determined, but will be based on the amount of public outreach and level of enforcement, a city report states. All council members except John Sibert, who did not attend the Monday meeting, supported the ordinance. Click above for full article.
7/1: The following is from a June 27th Columbian article: In 1988, they banned it in airplanes. In 1994, in offices. In 2006, the bars. And this month, they finally banned smoking in Teri Richard's apartment building. "When I grew up, there was a big ashtray on everybody's table," said Richard, 53, sitting under a small corner of awning that stretches 25 feet from the nearest door. Though Richard and a handful of her neighbors are only the latest of millions of tenants across the country to choose such indignities for the sake of an addiction, these tenants have an unusual landlord: the Vancouver Housing Authority. The new decision by Clark County's subsidized housing agency to ban smoking in some of its properties reflects Washington's successful crusade to drive down cigarette use. ... After years of debate, the VHA banned smoking indoors and on the balconies of Richard's building at the start of June. The company that manages the property has left notes on apartments but is still working out how the new rules would be enforced. On Wednesday, Columbia House in the Hough neighborhood will become the VHA's second smoke-free property. The agency might roll the ban out to others of its dozens of buildings across the county , VHA deputy director LaVon Holden said in May. Most public housing agencies are doing the same, she said. "It is just a standard of the business," said Holden, a former smoker. "We are becoming a culture that is less tolerant of secondhand smoke, because we now know the downside." The decision will save the agency about $1,900 for every two-bedroom apartment that doesn't have to be scrubbed and repainted every time a smoker moves out, Holden said. Smokers' habits had been making life less nice for some of the Esther Short building's nonsmokers, who are a majority of the tenants. Click above for full article.
6/12: According to a June 9th press release from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General: Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., today issued The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes at a press conference from the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. The Call to Action looks at the ways housing can affect health; its release will initiate a national dialogue about the importance of healthy homes. "The home is the centerpiece of American life," Galson, a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, said during today's press conference. "We can prevent many diseases and injuries that result from health hazards in the home by following the simple steps outlined in this Call to Action." Some examples outlined in the Call to Action include preventing falls by taking measures such as installing grab bars in showers and preparing a fire escape plan. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. Other steps outlined in the Call to Action include: 1) Check gas appliances, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces yearly and change furnace and air conditioning filters regularly. 2) Keep children safe from drowning, lead poisoning, suffocation and strangulation, and other hazards. 3) Improve air quality in their homes by installing radon and carbon monoxide detectors, eliminating smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, and controlling allergens that contribute to asthma and mold growth. 4) Improve water quality by learning to protect and maintain private water wells. Galson urged everyone from parents and homebuilders to community leaders and policy makers to embrace the holistic approach to creating healthy homes outlined in the Call to Action. During the event, Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced the release of HUD's Healthy Homes Strategic Plan. HUD's plan demonstrates why healthy homes is a national priority, describes what steps should be taken to achieve healthier housing, and highlights the key public and private partners for implementation.... The release of this document is part of a larger Healthy Homes Initiative led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and HUD with support from such organizations as the National Center for Healthy Housing, the Alliance for Healthy Homes, and the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. To access the full press release, with links to related materials, click above. To access the HUD Healthy Homes report and info, click here. To access more Healthy Homes info, click here.
6/2: The following is from a June 2nd NY Times article: During 34 years of smoking, Carolyn Smeaton has tried countless ways to reduce her three-pack-a-day habit, including a nicotine patch, nicotine gum and a prescription drug. But stop-smoking aids always failed her. Then, having watched a TV infomercial at her home here, Ms. Smeaton tried an electronic cigarette, which claimed to be a less dangerous way to feed her addiction. The battery-powered device she bought online delivered an odorless dose of nicotine and flavoring without cigarette tar or additives, and produced a vapor mist nearly identical in appearance to tobacco smoke. "I feel like this could save my life," said Ms. Smeaton, 47, who has cut her tobacco smoking to a pack and a half daily, supplemented by her e-cigarette. That electronic cigarettes are unapproved by the government and virtually unstudied has not deterred thousands of smokers from flocking to mall kiosks and the Internet to buy them. And because they produce no smoke, they can be used in workplaces, restaurants and airports. One distributor is aptly named Smoking Everywhere. The reaction of medical authorities and antismoking groups has ranged from calls for testing to skepticism to outright hostility. Opponents say the safety claims are more rumor than anything else, since the components of e-cigarettes have never been tested for safety. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already refused entry to dozens of shipments of e-cigarettes coming into the country, mostly from China, the chief maker of them, where manufacture began about five years ago. The F.D.A. took similar action in 1989, refusing shipments of an earlier, less appealing version, Favor Smoke-Free Cigarettes. "These appear to be unapproved drug device products," said Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the agency, "and as unapproved products they can't enter the United States." But enough of the e-cigarettes have made their way into the country that they continue to proliferate online and in the malls. Click above for full article.
6/2: The following is from an editorial in the June 2nd Muskegon Chronicle: Muskegon Community College is on the right track as it moves toward a campus-wide smoking ban. The board recently voted to begin drafting a proposal that could prohibit smoking anywhere on campus. Other options include creating smoking areas or allowing smoking in parked cars. The board wants the plan in place by January and wants time to launch an awareness campaign to educate students, faculty and staff about the ban and to point smokers toward resources that can help them quit. They can easily make that goal if they keep moving forward. It's important to allow time for students and faculty to quit smoking in advance of the ban. The MCC Student Government Association also is pushing for the ban -- something that several other community colleges, including Grand Rapids Community College, already have implemented. A total ban is the simplest and most prudent action the board could take and it may come just in advance of a statewide indoor workplace smoking ban passed last week by the Michigan House and under review in the Senate -- although bills to prohibit smoking in the workplace have been languishing in the Legislature since 2000. To access the full editorial, click above.
6/1: The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project maintains this up-dated listing of all the public housing authorities/commissions in the U.S. that we know of which have adopted smoke-free policies for one or more of their apartment buildings. The listing is done largely in the order in which the policies have been adopted. As of May, 2009, at least 112 local housing authorities had adopted smoke-free policies for some or all of their apartment buildings, with about 94 being adopted since the beginning of January, 2005; an average of about 1.8 per month. That constitutes an increase in the number of housing authorities with smoke-free policies of about 660% in 53 months. The 17 states with such policies include Michigan (28), Minnesota (19), Maine (18), Colorado (11), California (7), Nebraska (6), Washington (4), New Hampshire (3), Oregon (3), Alaska (3) New Jersey (2), Wisconsin (2), Idaho (2), Florida, Montana, Indiana, and Kentucky. To access the listing, in pdf format, click above.
6/1: According to a May 29th Traverse City Record Eagle story: Traverse City leaders hope a new push will help them extinguish smoking in bars and restaurants. State Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, agreed to sponsor a bill in the Michigan Legislature to allow local control of smoking in bars and restaurants. It would give local officials the authority to ban smoking in such places and could spur legislators in Lansing to enact a statewide ban, McDowell said. "This would allow local units of government to go ahead and make this decision themselves, rather than waiting on Lansing. It's a long process and I'm not sure we can get it done on a state level," he said. Traverse City officials sought McDowell's help because the local state representative, Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, opposes the idea and said smoking rules should be set by business and property owners. McDowell intends to introduce the bill next week and seek co-sponsors. The bill could get a leg up in Lansing over a statewide ban because many legislators support local control on certain topics, he said. "I feel we need a statewide ban and I think this would snowball across the state," McDowell said. The idea is to increase awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke and to protect workers at their jobs, he said. The new bill is the brainchild of Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes and the Traverse City Commission, McDowell said. "I think it's a positive step for communities," Estes said. "Forget about Lansing making this decision for us. Give us the local control and let them deal with bigger issues." Click above for the full article.
5/27: According to a May 26th news story: A House-authored indoor smoking ban like the one approved last year now heads to the Senate, still absent an agreement between the two chambers that doomed the effort in 2008. The proposed ban that would apply to nearly all indoor workplaces in Michigan, including bars and restaurants, easily passed Tuesday, 73-31, after attempts to weaken or strengthen it were defeated. Cigar bars, tobacco specialty shops and the gaming floors of Detroit's three commercial casinos would be the lone exceptions in a bill that would make Michigan the 37th state to enact broad prohibitions on workplace smoking. ... Last year, however, the Senate stripped out those exemptions. The bill died months later when House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford, declined to schedule a post-election vote that smoking opponents were confident they would have won. Ball and other smoking foes in the Legislature voted for Tuesday's ban on the understanding that if the Senate nixes carve-outs for casinos and cigar bars, there would be a House vote to send an exception-free measure to Gov. Jennifer Granholm for her expected signature. "If it comes back a clean bill, we can get the votes to pass it," Ball said. Rep. Timothy Bledsoe, D-Grosse Pointe, wasn't buying it, saying the bill caves to "powerful special interests" and "takes us down the same failed path." Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop, R-Rochester, says business owners should make the decision to ban smoking, but says any ban should be a total one. Whether a majority of his Senate colleagues still feel that way is unclear given what advocates say is a growing public expectation in Michigan that the Legislature act. Smoking bans in the states of Wisconsin and North Carolina, home of the tobacco industry, were signed into law last week. Click above for the full article.
5/27: According to a May 27th Leelanau Enterprise report: A proposal to ban smoking in public workplaces was unanimously supported last week by the Benzie-Leelanau Board of Health. The board voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the proposed ordinance, which was the subject of a public hearing May 14. Six people attended the public hearing at the Binsfeld Center in Lake Leelanau and expressed support for the measure, department director Bill Crawford said. Based on similar legislation in place in Marquette County and the City of Traverse City, the proposed ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed private and public worksites and public places. It would also include restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways and any other common use area. The only sites where smoking would not be regulated under the measure would be food service establishments, private residences except when used for child care, health care or adult day care facilities, tobacco specialty stores, and casinos owned and operated by Native American tribes. Enforcement would be by the health department officer or a designee. Upon the first complaint, a subject would receive a warning. A second complaint (within one year), is punishable by a fine of not more than $100; second offense, $300; third offense, $500. The ordinance, if adopted by both the boards of commissioners in both Benzie and Leelanau counties, would become effective 90 days after final approval, Crawford said. Click above to access the article.
5/5: On April 30th at a smoke-free housing meeting in Quebec City, Quebec, SFELP Director Jim Bergman presented an overview of the smoke-free multi-unit housing initiative in Michigan and other parts of the United States. The presentation was a part of an all-day meeting sponsored by the Non-Smokers' Rights Association of Canada (NSRA). Other speakers included Francois Damphousse and Pippa Beck of NSRA, Karine Fournier, Esq., and Jack Boomer of the Clean Air Coalition of British Columbia. Bergman's presentation described the successes Michigan health partners have had in the past 5 years in assisting apartment owners to adopt smoke-free policies for well over 100,000 rental units statewide. He also discussed how this was achieved and the barriers that had to be overcome. To access the 45-slide PowerPoint he used, click above.