by Laura Matiz
Usually the first question I get from buyers or renters about house rules is whether a building allows pets. A pet-friendly building is their prime concern. As smoking bans are added to house rules, I wonder if the first question asked by prospective buyers and renters—on both sides of the issue—will be on the building's smoking rules.
As New Yorkers have come to appreciate smoke-free public spaces, such as restaurants, bars, and parks, there are greater demands for similar environments in their buildings. Of course, this issue is much more controversial because the ban reaches into someone's private space. What happens to smokers that are long-time residents of the building? While a smoking ban seems likely to pass at many buildings given that adult smoking rates have dropped well under 20% according to the CDC, this may not always be the case. In a recent vote at an Upper West Side building a smoking ban did not gain the necessary super majority of 66.7% to be added to the house rules. Of course, smoking bans are being enacted and they are fairly broad as from a recently adopted resolution, "Smoking Activities shall mean the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other products which create smoke, vapor, or related odors."
There is no doubt this will be a thorny issue as more building boards are asked to consider implementing a building-wide smoking ban. Some deliberation and discussions are bound to get ugly. Does your building have a smoking ban already? Or is it considering one? What do you think? Fill out the poll below and I will share results in a later post.