Belmont, Calif., a quiet Silicon Valley city that is now home to perhaps the nation’s strictest antismoking law, effectively outlawing lighting up in all apartment buildings.The problem may be traced to the fact that some of these apartments are poorly constructed. Smoke can seep through vents or other apertures from one private residence into another. Assuming the complainers aren't just being intolerant and exaggerating the problem, it's understandable that this kind of thing might be hard for them to accept. I personally wouldn't want to smell the smoke of my neighbors.
On the other hand, do we want the government telling us what we can or cannot do in the privacy of our own homes? Is this too much meddling in our private lives?
Public health advocates are closely watching to see what happens with Belmont, seeing it as a new front in their national battle against tobacco, one that seeks to place limits on smoking in buildings where tenants share walls, ceilings and — by their logic — air. Not surprisingly, habitually health-conscious California has been ahead of the curve on the issue, with several other cities passing bans on smoking in most units in privately owned apartment buildings, but none has gone as far as Belmont, which prohibits smoking in any apartment that shares a floor or ceiling with another, including condominiums.
Although I find it difficult to disagree with the idea of "health advocates" looking out for our best interest, it worries me that State and Federal government can, under certain circumstances, ban and prohibit things. Is this the price we pay in order to live in the society of our fellows? Is the motorcycle helmet law or the seat belt law an intrusion? How about cleaning up after your dog? Is this extreme smoking ban just another guideline to enable us to live better together, or is it an unwanted government intrusion.
What's your opinion?