As the public’s understanding of the damaging health effects of secondhand smoke has grown, so too has concern grown regarding unwanted exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit housings. While many Californians have made the decision to not allow smoking in their homes, many living in apartments and condominiums are still exposed to drifting, toxic, secondhand smoke. While to smoke or not is a personal choice, no one has “the right” or “free choice” to actively harm another person against their will. Secondhand smoke is also known as involuntary or passive smoking. There is nothing passive about the effects of this smoke. According to Surgeon General, it may give as many as 300,000 children under the age of 18 months bronchitis and pneumonia, nevertheless the effects it has on people with medical conditions or disabilities.

Tobacco smoke is absorbed into walls, floors, furniture, clothes, toys, and other household services within minutes to hours after it is exhaled. Contaminants known as “third-hand smoke” remain on draperies, carpets, walls, and furniture long after visible smoke has disappeared. Clean up of apartments in which smokers have lived may be costly as a result of third-hand smoke. Knowing about the dangers of secondhand and third-hand smoke can motivate tenants to request healthier living environments for a brighter future for everyone.

– Manuel Meza

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