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The Towbes Group Inc. Bans Smoking In 2,000 Rental Apartments

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One California real estate group has decided to ban smoking in all of its apartments, but the aim of the ban isn't to make residents healthier.

Under a recently enacted California law that allows landlords to prohibit smoking, The Towbes Group Inc. of Santa Barbara has decided to ban smoking in almost 2,000 apartments across 13 of its complexes, the Los Angeles Times reports. The smoking ban is primarily intended to cut costs, since cleaning apartments previously rented by smokers is generally twice as expensive as that of non-smokers.

Even before landlords were given the legal right to implement smoking bans, some California residents had been forced to find places to smoke outside of their homes. A 580-unit complex in Pasadena owned by developer Sares-Regis went smoke-free last year, for example, according to the LAT.

And earlier this year, the city of Elk Grove, California considered a city-wide ban on smoking in apartments. Meanwhile, the University of California banned smoking on all ten of its campuses in January.

But the crackdown on smoking isn’t unique to the Golden State. After passing a ban to smoke in parks throughout New York state, officials suspended the ruling to extend a public comment period. Smoking in New York City parks is already illegal.

Chicago's City Colleges banned smoking at all of its locations in January, while in Indiana, a statewide smoking ban in public places will take effect July 1, according to The Republic.

Despite becoming more common, the benefits of smoking bans remain a topic of debate. Supporters point to the positive health benefits of smoking bans, such as a 10 percent drop in Scotland's premature birth rate since its public smoking ban in 2006. Detractors, however, claim that the health benefits are overstated and infringe on human freedoms.

A 2011 Gallup poll found 59 percent of Americans support smoking bans in all public places.

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