New York City's sugary drinks ban has created a multitude of controversy, as small government enthusiasts charge that the policy, which places a 16-ounce restriction on cups and bottles of non-diet soda, sweet teas and other related beverages, is an example of nanny-state overreach. With the debate surrounding that ban raging on, there's a new restriction -- this time on the West Coast -- that may soon have people chattering: A ban on smoking cigarettes inside multi-family homes.
San Rafael, a suburb of San Francisco, decided earlier this month to implement the ban for people living in condominiums, duplexes and multi-family houses, Reuters reports. The city council made the decision with a unanimous vote that will outlaw smoking in these localities, placing the regulation on a seemingly health-conscience community comprised of 57,000 residents. In addition to restricting private homes, smoking will also be banned on the city's downtown streets.
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Experts are claiming that the controversial move could end up igniting a series of similar actions in other towns and cities across America. The city's mayor, Gary Phillips, is apparently well-aware of the leadership role San Rafael may have given itself with the decision. He said that the city is "happy to blaze a trail" before the vote took place.
"We're most happy to be in the forefront of the issue because we think it will greatly benefit our residents and those visiting San Rafael, and we think it will set the tone for other cities as well," the mayor proclaimed.
While many in the community support the move, two smokers turned up at the city council meeting to decry the government's actions. One of those individuals, Thomas Ruppenthal, told the council that he believes the action being taken to restrict activity in citizens' private homes is "tyranny."
Smoking bans, of course, are nothing new. In NYC, where sugary drinks are also deemed culprits, enjoying a cigarette outdoors -- at least on public property -- has been forbidden since 2011. In California, too, smoking in most workplaces and restaurants has been banned since 1995; bars followed suit in 1998, Reuters reports.
San Rafael's ban includes all homes, new or old, rented or purchased, and may be among the most restrictive in the nation. So far, California is the only state that has banned smoking in homes -- but there's no telling when others will follow. Of course, the crack-down only counts for those individuals and families sharing walls with other residential units -- but angst is still likely to commence.
There's no doubt that second-hand smoke is dangerous and that, depending on how housing is constructed, the potential for it to seep into other units is concerning. On the flip side, opponents who cannot afford to live in unattached condos and apartments will certainly claim that the government is infringing upon their rights. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section, below.