The California State Assembly approved Senate Bill 332 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) today. The bill empowers landlords to prohibit smoking cigarettes in rental units, thus expanding the availability of smoke-free housing in California. Receiving bipartisan support with a vote of 63 - 5, the bill faces a procedural concurrence vote in the Senate (as early as this Thursday) and will then be presented to Governor Brown. Smoke-free housing policies have already been adopted in 35 California communities.

“While more than 86% of Californians do not smoke, there is very little smoke-free housing in California. With this bill we have an opportunity to expand the availability of smoke-free housing for families throughout our state," said Senator Padilla. “Living in an apartment should not compromise the health of renters or their children. This bill will help landlords provide healthier living environments for their tenants."

Over 30% of California housing consists of multi-family residences. While the dangers of second-hand smoke cigarettes are no secret, citizens may be unaware that it can travel through walls, ceilings, baseboards, plumbing and gaps around electrical wiring, among other crevices and openings. A December 2010 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed that children living in apartments sans smokers have a 45% increase in cotinine levels (used to measure tobacco levels) compared with detached homes. Secondhand smoke cigarettes kills an estimated 49,400 nonsmokers annually, including 3,400 lung cancer and 46,000 heart disease fatalities.

Landlords who wish to exercise the law, should it develop, must include such restriction in a rental or lease agreement.

Perhaps this potential restriction will convince a portion of the 14% to quit smoking cigarettes once unable to enjoy butts within the comfort of their homes. Yet perhaps this potential restriction will generate an increase in cigarette litter along the perimeters of multi-family residences and our roadways.

Todays Notice: Chesterfield view it now.