Some residents of one California town may soon be banned from smoking in their own homes.
The City Council of Elk Grove, California is considering an initiative that would outlaw smoking in apartment complexes throughout the city, The Daily Mail reports. The proposal has sparked heated debate among the city's residents, with some saying it would violate their rights and others who say the health benefits of the ban outweigh such concerns, according to CBS Sacramento. Meanwhile, hundreds of complexes in the city have already banned smoking without government intervention.
"We support an owner's right to choose the policy that's in the best interest of their particular property," Cory Koehler, a representative from the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley, told CBS Sacramento. "But what we don't support is a new law by local government forcing the owner to do that."
Still, support for smoking bans has been on the rise recently. Maryland state senators approved a bill this month that would ban smokers from lighting up when driving with children under the age of eight. Critics have raised similar questions about whether the bill violates individuals' rights, but recent headlines from the UK highlight the positive effects of smoking bans. In Scotland, the premature birthrate has fallen 10 percent since the country banned smoking in public in 2006.
Indeed, the fight against smoking has some friends in high places. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently committed $220 million to his charity aimed at reducing tobacco use worldwide.
Bloomberg emphasized the negative health consequences of smoking in a statement, but he may have neglected to mention the detrimental effect the practice can have on the global economy. Tobacco smoking costs the world between one to two percent of its total gross domestic product due to lost productivity and healthcare expenses, as well as other costs, according to a recent report.
But even as smoking bans gain popularity, tobacco companies may soon release new products to get around them. Tobacco giants like Camel may turn to tablets and other dissolvable forms of tabacco that the Food and Drug Administration recently found have less severe health effects than cigarettes.
CORRECTION: A previous title for this post wrongly referred to the town in question as Elk Ridge.