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San Francisco's Ban on Smoking Tobacco in Multi-Family Housing Goes “Up in Smoke”

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San Francisco's Ban on Smoking Tobacco in Multi-Family Housing Goes “Up in Smoke”

Published 12/09/2020

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash.

In an unusual turn of events, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a proposed ban on smoking or vaping tobacco in apartments that it voted for just last week. The board must approve legislation in two separate votes.

Ordinarily, the second vote is perfunctory. But not this time, as Supervisors decided not to approve Board President Norman Yee’s proposed ban on smoking in apartments on its second vote after approving the proposal last week in a 10-1 vote. This time the board split a 6-to-5 vote to send the legislation back to the committee.

Only Supervisor Dean Preston opposed the vote on the legislation last week after he highlighted the concerns raised by tenant advocates, such as the Housing Rights Committee and the impacts it could have on longstanding renters, including fines of up to $1,000 per day and the potential for tenant harassment. Preston noted last week that the ban would likely mostly impact long-term tenants who signed leases before it became the standard for landlords to put no-smoking provisions into the agreements.

The proposal now returns to the committee for further review after Supervisor Aaron Peskin said he had heard from many long-term and low-income tenants in the interim. He said the impacts of secondhand smoke in apartment buildings are a real problem but hopes to address the issue differently.

As always, we will continue to monitor this developing story and will keep you updated on all new information as it is released.

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