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Should Smoking Be Banned in Public Housing? [POLL]

Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Following the lead of places like Cape May which will fine you 2 grand for smoking on the beach, a possible law against smoking in your car if you have kids younger than 16 with you; a ban on smoking in parks in Jersey City, now comes a prohibition on public smoking in Fair Haven.

Here’s the story:

Fair Haven’s ban allows smoking in the impervious areas of parks, but prohibits it everywhere else in parks. That means people can puff no more at the soccer fields, ball diamonds or on gravel and wood chip-lined walking trails.

Violators could be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent infractions.
So far, 211 New Jersey municipalities and counties have policies on smoking in parks, more than half of which are outright bans, according to figures reported by the Global Advisors on Smoke Free Policy, a Summit-based anti-smoking organization.

Fair Haven officials sparked an interest in a smoking ban after conversations with their counterparts in neighboring Rumson, which banned smoking altogether in its parks two years ago.

And the ban is following you indoors too:

Several new North Jersey apartment buildings are entirely smoke-free, including properties in Hackensack, Wood-Ridge and North Bergen constructed by AvalonBay, a Virginia-based apartment developer and owner.

“I don’t think we lose people when they find out we’re smoke-free,” said Ron Ladell, senior vice president of AvalonBay. “Residents are inquiring about smoke-free apartments. They’re seeking it out.”

Rosina Kogan is one tenant who considers the smoking ban “a plus.” Kogan, a nurse who lives at Avalon Bay’s development in Wood-Ridge, says she used to live in apartments where neighbors’ smoke would waft in through her open windows.

“You couldn’t say anything, because they were smoking on their own balcony or in their own home, but it was really disturbing,” Kogan said.

Several public housing authorities also have restricted smoking in residents’ apartments, including Cliffside Park and Hackensack. And two new rental buildings in Hudson County — the Edge Lofts in Hoboken and the Madox in Jersey City — went smoke-free because they thought it would appeal to tenants, and because they were seeking certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, which looks at a building’s air quality.

Smoking bans in individual apartments are still the exception in New Jersey. But the move to ban smoking in apartments has picked up steam since the state’s Smoke-Free Air Act was signed into law in 2006. That law banned smoking in most public places — including the common areas of multi-unit housing, says Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of New Jersey GASP, an anti-smoking group. In addition, more than 200 towns and counties around the state have banned smoking in parks.

“People are demanding [residential smoking bans] because they don’t need to be around it at work or at leisure, so why should they be around it at home?” Blumenfeld said.

Supporters of the smoking bans say that the smoke seeps into the ventilation systems with all the detrimental effects of second hand smoke.

Doesn’t seem like a “man’s home is his castle” anymore – does it?
I don’t have a problem with smokers. They can do what they want with their lungs. And I don’t have a problem with a prohibition on smoking in restaurants and bars…although I always felt that since bars are places to drink, shouldn’t the “sin” of smoking be allowed too?

As far as in your car with your kids – you’d have to be brain-dead to do that, but it’s your choice. Just like it’s your choice to light up at home.

Problem comes in when it affects your neighbors. I’d say go out in the woods to smoke, but at some point even the animals will have a problem with it!

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