Secondhand smoke battle: Indoor smoking bans?


Smokers’ rights are disappearing fast. Now some want to ban smoking inside one’s very own home. Check out this story:

The Orange County Register reports that a jury trial in California led to a Homeowners’ Association being found negligent in a cigarette smoking dispute between neighbors in a condominium.

The five week trial concerned a resident who would smoke on their patio. The next-door neighbor sued, based on health concerns for their young child who they claimed was constantly in the path of the secondhand smoke. The allegation the jury heard was that the condo association had a duty to keep the smoker from smoking on their patio. They ruled that a number of parties were in fact responsible. The condo association itself had a 60% responsibility, and the condo resident to a lesser degree. The condo owner/landlord who was renting the place to the smoker was also liable.

The parents sought $120,000 in damage, but ended up getting $15,500 for the smoking incident.

In America, we’re beginning to reverse the 20th century trend of living farther apart. We are beginning to live closer and closer–so what effectively used to be a non-issue–proximity to smoke–is becoming more of an issue. Plus, smoking itself has more of a stigma than it used to. Even ‘desgnated smoking areas’ are becoming rarer.

There’s always been a prevailing principle that our home is our castle. But another principle is that we’re not supposed to act in a way that harms other individuals. The question for you:  Is it reasonable–or is it going too far–for associations to ban smoking inside one’s own home? Or outside on the common grounds?

Clark hates smoking, but he thinks this may be a bridge too far.

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