Overbroad Smoking Ban Harms Health and Property Rights

The City of Belmont, California has banned smoking in most apartment units as well as in public parks and other public spaces.

(In Santa Cruz, California, it’s similarly forbidden to smoke in public parks, although pot smokers were able to take advantage of an exception to the ban).

Studies indicate that such bans on smoking in public parks actually harm health by discouraging smokers from smoking outdoors where their smoke will quickly dissipate harmlessly, rather than indoors where their smoke may accumulate and harm health, as I have noted before. (I would much rather that my wife, who has tried and failed to quit smoking, smoke outside while taking a walk in the public park a tenth of a mile from my house rather than inside the house, just one room away from my baby daughter).

The ban on smoking in apartments is hard to enforce, an invasion of privacy, and an unwarranted encroachment on the property rights of landlords and the freedom of contract of tenants and landlords alike. Very little smoke drifts from one apartment unit to another — not enough to justify flouting the tenet that a man’s house is his castle.