The City Council will hold the second reading of the tomorrow evening. The announcement is on their website and item 6C on the agenda.
I suspect it'll be a lively meeting since in the spirit of true democracy letters went out to all the homeowner associations from the City and I know our building manager has informed all her clients.
I am hopeful that the provision for condo owners passes, however nothing is certain and there have been comments in the local newspapers and on other blogs that oppose these measures usually on the grounds that it is an imposition of the state on the rights of the individual.
Smokers only have this argument because they know that their habit is a killer and it's not common sense to demand that right. Nonsmokers make the argument because they have libertarian beliefs and have never had to deal with the issues first-hand — perhaps because smokers are in a minority.
The counter argument is that smoking a public health issue in which the actions of a small minority severely affects the well-being of the majority. And in the case of multi-unit housing there is no way to confine the minority without it affecting the majority, hence is an all or nothing measure.
If you are still not convinced of this argument then the only way to compare is by reducing it to hard figures and looking at the cost of smoking versus not. The costs of smoking accrue from health-related issues and property damage. The cost of implementing second-hand smoke control is policing.
I don't have solid numbers at hand for either — however the ordinance is inexpensive because it grants the right to an individual to make a nuisance complaint and relieves the police from responsibility of enforcement.
The cost of smoking however is large and erosive. As more non-smokers are affected by smoke they leave the place. Smokers move in to replace the non-smokers. The building becomes more contaminated. Smokers are less wealthy and it becomes hard to demand higher rents and fees from them so the building struggles with maintenance while being clobbered with higher costs caused by smoking.
Gradually the place falls into disrepair. I care passionately about where I live and don't want to see this happen. I hope that other condo owners share my views. If you are one of them this would be a good time to tell the City Council either by sending email to them or attending tomorrow night's meeting.