Mayor Bloomberg's successful campaign to turn smokers into animals is taking aim at your apartment today: Bloomberg is expected to announce legislation that would require residential buildings to adopt written policies on whether smoking is permitted or prohibited—likely greatly increasing the amount of non-smoking buildings in the city. "We think that people ought to know whether they might be exposed to second-hand smoke in their apartment before they decide whether to rent or buy," Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told the Wall Street Journal.
The proposal would force buildings to dictate smoking policies on all indoor and outdoor locations including lobbies, balconies, courtyards, laundry rooms and individual apartments. The penalty for violating the proposed law would $100 per violation. Audrey Silk, the head of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (NYC CLASH), said "there is nothing innocent" about the bill: "This is a crusade for a smoker-free society, just another way to make it impossible for somebody to have a cigarette."
But the city trotted out a recent telephone survey which found that NYers favor the new law 64% to 30%—of course, a majority of NYers also allegedly favor the way the NYPD monitors the Muslim community. The city added that between July 15 and April 15 of this year, there were 2,363 complaints to 311 about secondhand smoke in residences (some apartment buildings also restrict smoking already.)
So your apartment may soon go the way of parks, beaches, boardwalks, bars, restaurants, condos, LIRR and Metro-North platforms, and automobiles with children on board. The city is going to have to give smokers somewhere to go, lest they want to tempt fate with a chainsaw-wielding barfly.