Smoking Bans

This California City Will Let the Neighbors Sue You for Vaping on Your Own Balcony

Concord's ban on smoking and vaping in private apartments allows residents to take civil action against their neighbors for violating the policy.


Come 2021 the residents of Concord, California, have something exciting to look forward to: not being allowed to vape on their own balconies.

On January 1, the small Bay Area city's ban on smoking in multi-unit properties takes effect. Once it does, anyone living on a property with two or more units—which would include apartment buildings, duplexes, mobile home parks, and residential care facilities—won't be allowed to smoke or vape inside their residence.

Stepping out onto the porch isn't an option either, as the new policy prohibits smoking in "exclusive-use unenclosed areas" like decks and balconies.

Because state law bans smoking cannabis wherever smoking tobacco is prohibited, the city's new policy means you can't toke up in your own home either. Californians are also barred from consuming cannabis in public, leaving the apartment-dwelling stoners of Concord with few options but to buy a house or move.

The justification for this new ban rests on the supposed danger that secondhand smoking (and vaping) poses to non-consenting neighbors who might be exposed to noxious cigarette smoke or fruity-smelling vape clouds.

The preamble to the city's smoking ban raises a number of other seemingly contradictory fears to justify its ban on vaping, including that the practice has "grown in popularity in recent years even as traditional tobacco use has declined" and that vaping "may have the capacity to 'renormalize' tobacco use."

Concord is actually a laggard when it comes to cracking down on victimless activities done in the comfort of one's own home. Contra Costa County, where Concord is located, has imposed a similar ban in unincorporated parts of the county, reports the East Bay Times. So have most cities in the county.

In California, some 63 local governments have banned smoking in private apartments. And, in early December, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10–1 to approve a ban on smoking tobacco in buildings with three or more units.

In a surprise twist, that ban failed a second, final vote of the full Board on December 8, with several supervisors citing the need to address potential unintended consequences of the ban, reports the San Francisco Examiner. The bill has since been kicked back to committee for further amendments.

San Francisco's ban would have come with $1,000 fines for violators. Concord's policy works a little differently: It instead requires landlords to include clauses in leases and rental agreements prohibiting smoking in units.

Apartment dwellers who violate that lease condition could be subject to civil lawsuits from their landlord or any of their neighbors. San Francisco explicitly barred tenants from being evicted if they violated the city's smoking ban. Concord's policy has no such provision.

Given the wildly exaggerated dangers of secondhand smoke, bans on smoking in private apartments are really more about legislating neighborliness by prohibiting people from subjecting the folks upstairs to annoying fumes and odors.

It's hardly unreasonable for people to want to live in a smoke-free building. The easy solution, however, would be to let property owners set their own lease conditions. People can then choose to live in whichever environment suits them best.

Instead, Concord has decided to bring about community harmony by letting everyone sue each other for using legal products in their own homes. There's a possibility this will lead to more conflict, not less.

NEXT: Democrats Push $2,000 'Survival Checks' to Make Up for the 'Woefully Inadequate' $5 Trillion Federal Relief Effort

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  1. This sounds like a well thought out policy to combat second hand smoke health effects. Well done council.

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    2. Sounds like an effort to control people’s behavior in their own home. Nowhere does it ban burning incense, grilling meat until it’s well done, or burning toast, so not about smoke. If you believed that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

      1. Well, I think we’re better off taking these honorable public servants at their words and assume it’s about public health. What’s the point of government if not to make these difficult decisions for us?

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    4. Sounds like a well thought out policy to get people to murder the Karens living next to them.

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  2. The first guy to sue me would be treated to fried fish and garlic smells every morning.

    1. How about a kimchi pot on the balcony?

      1. You'd be fined for cultural appropriation on top of the civil lawsuit unless you can prove 100% Korean ancestry (1 drop rule).

        1. "unless you can prove 100% Korean ancestry (1 drop rule)."

          you...don't know what the words you use mean

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      2. I'm currently slow roasting a pork butt after slathering with with gochujang. Then I'm gonna make a slaw/salsa with mango, cucumber, sweet onion, cilantro and lime. Not sure if I'm gonna dice or shred.

        Pulled pork on hot corn tortillas with some crunchy veggies. Korean fusion tacos. Just pulled the idea out of my ass, but I think it will be good.

        No kimchi though.

        1. Haven't used my mandolin yet. Julienne it is.

        2. I found a very good recipe for korean-style cole slaw if you have any gochujang left over:

          1. That's it. I'm buying some cabbage.

        3. “Korean fusion tacos. Just pulled the idea out of my ass, but I think it will be good.”

          Really? Because I’ve been to a lot of restaurants that serve something like this.

    2. I suddenly have an urge for some Surströmming.

    3. I would rather smell your fish and garlic cooking, curry, or whatever than breathe in your cigarette smoke. Would you like it if I shat in a bag, lit it on fire and left it on your porch everyday? Because that's basically what you're doing to me when you smoke in your apartment - except there are actually long term negative health effects to secondhand smoke. I'd actually prefer if you left a flaming bag of shit on my porch every day and cooked fish and garlic every day to breathing in your nasty cigarette smoke.

      So frankly to the lawmakers I say this is actually a good law ... smoking in a multi resident building is a violation of the non aggression principle, you're directly damaging someone else's health and possibly finances if they have to pay to break the lease move to get away from you. Not to mention most people can't even afford to break their lease so their options would be to continue breathing your smoke or break their lease and ruin their credit.

      1. Note: Vaping in apartments I don't have as much as a problem with but the smoking ban IMO is not a bad thing since it's preserving people's right to breathe air that isn't noxious.

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  4. As if these knuckleheads will know if you're vaping in your apartment.

    The next step, of course, is mandatory video monitoring in every unit.

    You know, for the kids.

    1. I miss when we wanted to keep the government out of the bedroom

    2. And building codes for new homes and remodels to ensure that no one is out of sight of the telescreen.

  5. my Council colleagues and I have adopted an ordinance prohibiting smoking and vaping in and around multiunit and attached housing units.

    She continued "in keeping with the liberal mantra of "your body, your choice", should you wish to perform a late-term abortion in your attached housing unit, your neighbor will be required by law to assist you."

  6. I love watching Cali combust. Beautiful state, horrible people.

  7. Good to that government was instituted for the protection of our individual rights.

    1. The only rights progs care about protecting are the right to decide your gender and kill your fetus.

        1. Unless the giver is male and the recipient female.

  8. Imagine being a local busy body bureaucrat and passing an edict like this. Not that government is good at solving problems, but passing nonsense like this seems to assume that they have adequately addressed the vast list of actual problems facing society. Or they're just petty fucking tyrants who don't give a shit about solving real problems because that's a lot harder to do...

  9. Banning vaping in homes will be impossible, but hey, if the law makes these dipshits feel important, it’s all good.

  10. The anti-smokers and now anti-vapers have been very successful with getting local governments to ban these activities because local governments, especially in wealthy prog communities, are over represented by “for the children” Karen types. Good luck trying to unseat them.

  11. Because state law bans smoking cannabis wherever smoking tobacco is prohibited, the city's new policy means you can't toke up in your own home either. Californians are also barred from consuming cannabis in public, leaving the apartment-dwelling stoners of Concord with few options but to buy a house or move.

    There are non-smoking options for cannabis. The apartment-dwelling stoners of Concord could try edibles..

    1. Different onset time and significantly different responses than from inhalation. Not a replacement in any way.

      1. I was about to say the same thing.

        Vaping, as far as I can tell, doesn't create any odor. So vape away, just not near the windows. Nobody will know.

      2. Also, even in places where it’s legal, the black market is the way to go, and it’s more difficult to get edibles on the black market.

        1. Legal vapes are where it's at. Seriously. Check it out if you get a chance.

          (Which you won't do because sarc is a poo-poo head, so now I've just made sure you won't ever enjoy THC vapes! Reverse psychology for the win! Yay me!)

          1. "Which you won’t do because sarc is a poo-poo head,"

            Do you ever stop crying?

            1. >> Do you ever stop crying?

              eventually he blacks out

              1. What kind of a moron are you? When someone blacks out they're still conscious, they just don't remember the next day. As opposed to passed out, which is unconscious. If you're gonna insult me you could at least do it right. idjit

                1. >>
                  Learn to pronounce
                  See definitions in:
                  noun: blackout; plural noun: blackouts; noun: black-out; plural noun: black-outs
                  a failure of electrical power supply.
                  "due to a power blackout, their hotel was in total darkness"
                  power cut
                  power failure
                  electricity failure
                  blown fuse
                  a period when all lights must be turned out or covered to prevent them being seen by the enemy during an air raid.
                  "people found it difficult to travel in the blackout"
                  dark curtains put up in windows to cover lights during an air raid.
                  a moment in the theater when the lights on stage are suddenly turned off.
                  a suppression of information, especially one imposed on the media by government.
                  "the total information blackout on the series of meetings"
                  reporting restrictions
                  a period during which a particular activity is prohibited.
                  "there are no blackout days during the travel period"
                  a temporary loss of consciousness.
                  "she was suffering from blackouts"

                  1. sarcasmic finally finds something he should be an expert on and he fucks that up too

                    1. >> he fucks that up too


                  2. That's fainting. Alcohol related blackouts are memory gaps. idjit

                    1. Haha sarc got owned again, and now we all get to watch him cry.

          2. I actually owned a vaporizer back before they were just pens. It was fine. I’m more of a small bowl of kind at a time throughout the night.

            1. Volcano or GTFO.

              These days I’m using perfectly legal (even in my state) DELTA8 THC cartridges.

              They work great.

        2. Oregon is an outlier, in that it is the opposite but you are generally correct.

    2. There are non-smoking options for tobacco too, but are those allowed either?

  12. anyone living on a property with two or more units

    Just interpret "on a property" to mean "in a city or county" and be done with it.

  13. ah California. You be you.

  14. Ah, smoking is not good for you, and it's been deemed that anything not good for you is bad; hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat...
    Bad language, chocolate, gasoline, uneducational toys and anything spicy. Abortion is also illegal, but then again so is pregnancy if you don't have a licence.
    -- Lt. Lenina Huxley, SAPD (San Angeles Police Department)

  15. Ahhh California where I can transition into a non binary dolphin but I can't smoke a damn cigarette outdoors.

  16. What about perfume? Air fresheners? Or does it count only if you deliberately inhale it first?

  17. A lot of this comes down to the work of anti-smoking activists turned anti-vaping activists who've set it as their goal to link smoking and vaping so people will erroneously think one is as harmful to health as the other. Terminology such as "re-normalizing smoking" comes straight out of the stock "model legislation" written by these groups and distributed to politicians. Vaping should be seen as the answer here, not the villain. But instead, hyper-health moralists are taking a Prohibition-esque position that Is actually starting to reduce vaping in the US and cause smoking to increase - an utterly absurd trend to be brought about by anyone who cares even a little about overall health outcomes.

    To me this illustrates clearly that this isn't about health at all, but it's about control, social engineering, and money. Government agencies hand these groups billions of dollars so they can set up agencies that crank out misinformation about the relative risks of smoking versus vaping, causing people to make incorrect decisions that adversely affect their health.

  18. Control freaks at work again working in the realm of absurdity a realm they’re most familiar with. Keep leaving Cali folks it’s not where you wanna be.

  19. This is a bit of a Government overreach, but have you ever been next to somebody smoking a cigar on the balcony below oy next to you. Their smoke directly impacts my right to breath non smelly or smoky air.

    1. I agree. This is why smoking and vaping should not be treated the same. In the legislation, they admit that they're trying to prevent vaping from "re-normalizing tobacco use." In other words, this is about the appearance of people vaping, not a desire to protect people from an annoyance, as can occur when smoke in or outside apartment buildings.

  20. This article sounds like a bunch of psychopaths making up rules as they go along trying to run a big bunch of home owner associations.

  21. Concord is actually the home of a huge Superfund site at the Naval Weapons Station. The City Council has been rushing the cleanup in a Pay2Play maneuver to redevelop it with the typical California Cronies. They're putting up thousands of homes in the city on top of toxic soils full of carcinogens. It is base hypocrisy to care about smoking but let kids play in a Pay2Playground on top of poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons because the Concord City Council didn't want to clean the soil.

  22. It's very sad to see the news surrounding vape liquid in the USA and this new restriction in California is just one more example about how ridiculous the situation has gotten. Regulation in the US seems to be the only way to a real solution however, the current angle on regulation by combining vape products into the Tobacco sector has causes a major mis-communication between laws and more importantly, to the general public for which support is required to create real change. A light-touch legal model that is similar to the UK regulation makes way for real life-changing progress fuelled by small businesses that go out of their way to provide countless vape options for customers such as - all of which are compliant to the UK regulations.

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