Brickbat: A Man's Home Is His Castle


Officials in Suffolk County, New York, are considering two ordinances that would ban residents of apartment buildings, condominiums and other multi-unit residential buildings from smoking in their own homes. Dr. William Spencer, a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, says second-hand smoke can seep through cracks in walls or through plumbing or electrical lines. One of the laws calls for fines of up to $1,000 for those convicted of smoking in their homes.

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  2. Hasn’t California already walked down this road?

    1. Just what I thought 😀

    2. Thought Davis went down this road about 20 years ago. Rather famously, too. You had cases where people couldn’t smoke in their homes or on the sidewalk, so you had people walking down the middle of city streets to get a puff or two.

      It’s coming more places. Especially if medicare for all or the equivalent becomes the law, and government has a financial interest in you not smoking.

      Well, other than weed, because that’s different, or something.

      1. Not that the medicare for all idiots are smart enough to figure this out but obese smokers use up the fewest healthcare dollars because they die quickly. When the math doesn’t work out don’t be surprised to see liquor, cigarettes and sugar get subsidized.

        1. I thought they used the same health care dollars, as end of life care are most of the costs; but patients with extensive co-morbidities like obesity, diabetes, heavy tobacco use, just had those health care dollars arrive earlier in life than patients without those maladies?

          But I agree that .Gov is going to find the path that leads to the lowest spending for most of us. Not the most efficient path.

        2. Also, don’t forget the money states get from the tobacco settlement. Many, many states need that money.

      2. “Well, other than weed, because that’s different, or something.”

        I was wondering if pot was included. I’m guessing not, but I couldn’t find it explicitly stated.

        In the linked article:
        “When I get the push-back from individuals that say, ‘No, you can’t stop me from smoking,’ I say ‘Why not?’” Gonzalez said.

        I’m guessing a Bloomberg voter.

  3. Smokers shouldn’t even be allowed to live in multi-family housing since third-hand smoking (being around a smoker and exposed to the smell of tobacco in their clothes and hair) is even more dangerous than smoking itself. And they better have included vaping in the ban, it’s a well-known scientific fact that vaping is even worse than third-hand smoking. Oh, and if you’ve got smoke seeping into your apartment from next door, you should contact codes enforcement and have them inspect the firewall situation – it’s the whole purpose of a firewall to prevent that sort of thing.

    1. contact codes enforcement

      Snitches get stitches!

      1. …or end up in ditches!

        1. so, Ditches get snitches.

    2. Few firewalls between floors. The smell of weed or cigarettes can indeed drift through holes made for electrical and plumbing- but so can the smell of kimchee or fish.

    3. If I smoked, I would pay no attention to this ordinance. I would continue as before.
      You come to my door complaining, “Prove it.” says I, as I blow smoke in your face.
      In addition to your “well known scientific facts” one might suggest that you read the “Osteen Decision” where federal judge William Osteen ripped the EPA a new one as he ruled against them in a second hand smoke suit .

  4. Statistics show more than 3,000 non-smokers in New York die each year from heart disease and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.

    This seems dubious.

    1. I always wondered how on earth they could parse all the variables involved in air quality to make statements like that.

      1. Someone makes a guess about the health consequences of exposure to something – second hand smoke, blueberries, koala bears, whatever – and then applies that to the total number of deaths so presto! you have a number.
        This is like counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The attempt is considered serious by the clairvoyant applying the numbers, but perhaps based on faith more than science.
        Of course journalists, none of whom ever took a college science or math class. report everything said by someone self described as an expert.

      2. They can’t. It’s like alcohol related car accidents: If there is any possible way to attribute a death to secondhand smoke, it will be so attributed. For example, if you had a radon abatement worker die of lung cancer, and every Friday he had to go pick up his check at the payroll office where one of the clerks smoked…boom, death by secondhand smoke.

        1. D-Pizzle,
          You have that right. The numbers on alcohol related car accidents is so skewed that it isn’t funny. Many police departments have the “alcohol related” box on their accident reports selected as the default. I was in an accident a few years ago and my insurance agent called me and asked why the police report had it listed as alcohol related? I told him that the Police never even showed up, we just answered some questions over the phone. People think that it is nothing until they realize how much grant money Police Departments get because of these numbers. According to the NHTSA an accident is “alcohol related” if anybody involved has any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. Not just the driver or drivers, anybody. A sober designated driver, with two passengers that have been drinking, hits a patch of ice causing an accident, it is considered “alcohol related”. You can only wonder at the criteria for something being caused by “second hand” smoke is.

      3. It’s not quite as bad as all that, but it’s not good.

        They first take the exposure of a pack-a-day cigarette habit, say that there are 30,000 deaths per year attributable to smoking-related causes. They then check the exposure rate of someone with heavy secondhand exposure, such as working in a bar all your life (assume 1/10th the exposure of a pack-a-day habit). You then assume linear impact/exposure. So secondhand smoke kills 30,000 * 1/10 = 3,000 per year.

        This is a bit oversimplified, but you get the idea. You can see how there are huge assumptions at every step: what is attributed to smoking, the actual exposure amounts, and the linearity, which is certainly false at low concentrations in biological systems, but it’s assumed universally because there’s no other viable model to use.

      4. “I always wondered how on earth they could parse all the variables involved in air quality to make statements like that.”

        With enough variables, you can make a case for most anything. Especially anything your funders want a case for.

  5. Well, it’s not like serfs in New York have any rights anyway.
    Maybe they should just tear down all multi-unit dwellings and install solar / wind farms.
    Then they would have a great platform of “we need more housing” to run on.

  6. You would think that the State just wants to force the smokers outside, but they’ve made 50%+ or more of outdoor spaces “smoke free” as well! Smoking isn’t allowed in city parks where I live!

  7. I live in an apartment complex in Atlanta, GA and they ban smoking in their apartments. The funny thing is I had lived/smoked in that apartment for 5 years before new ownership came in and changed the rules. Fuck them. I haven’t stopped smoking inside. And if by chance they catch me and try to fine/evict me , I will challenge in court.

    1. What does your lease say?

      My old apartment had me on a year to year lease, and every year, the lease picked up more and more restrictions. I liked staying there, so I kept signing.

  8. Dr. William Spencer, a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, says second-hand smoke can seep through cracks in walls or through plumbing or electrical lines.

    “And don’t even get me started about coronavirus or body odor!”

  9. This doesn’t seem like it would stand up in court. They can’t ban smoking completely, and between this and the other smoking bans, that’s what they’d be effectively doing.

  10. “Dr. William Spencer, a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, says second-hand smoke can seep through cracks in walls or through plumbing or electrical lines.”

    This is factually untrue. The Building Code has, for many years, required that both floor and wall penetrations between tenant units be sealed for fire and smoke. You are not going to get second hand smoke from plumbing or electrical lines.

    1. Maybe in some places. I’ve worked maintenance in enough old buildings (built in the 70s and 80s) to know that once you take, say, a couple electrical plates off then you’ve got air flow between upper and lower floors.

  11. Electrical lines? Smoke is going to travel through electrical lines? Are these people really that stupid?

    1. No, but they think that most everyone else is.

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