WatchSonoma Watch

Supes ban smoking in apartments and condos


Sonoma County supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday that will ban smoking inside apartments and condominiums in the county’s jurisdiction.

The ordinance was part of a larger anti-smoking package that seeks to bring the county in line with cities such as Sebastopol that have strict smoking prohibitions.

A vote on a proposal that would have banned smoking on county property and unenclosed areas such as restaurant and bar patios was delayed until October to give food and beverage businesses more time to brace for the change.

“This is a major step forward in protecting the health of all residents and visitors to Sonoma County,” Mark Netherda, the county interim public health officer, said after the vote.

The ordinance will prohibit smoking in any existing multiunit residence beginning in 16­months. It will ban smoking in new units, as well as those rented for residential use for the first time, in eight months.

Second District Supervisor David Rabbitt, while lauding efforts to prohibit secondhand smoke, raised concerns over the county regulating what residents have a right to do in their own homes.

Rabbitt, an architect, argued that he had yet to see scientific evidence that secondhand smoke could travel from one apartment or condominium unit to another unless there are open windows or outdated, shared ventilation systems.

Lynn Walton, manager of the Healthy Communities section of the Sonoma County Public Health Division, cited a number of studies, including a recent study by a Stanford researcher who found that the level of hazardous tobacco chemicals in a nonsmoker’s San Jose condominium was as high as one would find in a casino.

A separate part of the anti-smoking package sought to prohibit smoking in open areas, including county-owned property and public and private property in the county’s unincorporated areas.

During the meeting’s public comment period, Peter Hackett, owner of Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville, asked the board for more time to notify his patrons about the ban on smoking in open areas of bars and restaurants.

Supervisors agreed to delay implementation of the smoking prohibitions as they apply to food and beverage businesses until June 1 of next year. The board also proposed coming up with a detailed implementation and education campaign.

The change required an amendment to the ordinance, which will be voted on by the supervisors in early October.

“This is a valid compromise as long as the county performs its duty in educating the public on the introduction of this ordinance, which effectively bans outdoor tobacco smoke at food and beverage establishments,” Hackett said.

32 Responses to “Supes ban smoking in apartments and condos”

  1. Nancy Lee says:

    I applied to a low-income apartment complex and was given an apartment without being allowed to see it in advance of signing agreement. I took it and a neighbor said that the former tenant of my unit died of lung cancer…he said that she rarely opened her door and chain smoked. The walls and drapes were yellow and you know the carpet and pad were soaked with the yellow gunk too. Moved in and for the first time in my life I suffered terrible daily headaches…..I replaced the drapes myself and it took 5-years, but finally the carpet was replaced….headaches disappeared. I’d be glad to see that rentals did not allow smoking, although I can’t imagine how anyone could enforce such a law or regulation.

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  2. Bill me says:

    Some new laws for our elected officials to consider:
    1. Coughing Ordinance prohibiting coughers from coughing in public places and behind closed doors. I am sick of this.
    2. People who stare-those stares invade my personal space
    3. Cars with windows down and radio up playing bad songs. My ears should not have their space invaded. Stop ear rape
    4. Slow street crossers. They can go faster so my personal time is not used for waiting for them to walk so slow
    5. Bad clothes-get bad dressers behind bars!

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. Social Dis-Ease says:

    To Pearl: those of us active in Agenda 21 resistance, have found ourselves among self proclaimed ‘teapartiers’ and all kinds of folks. Tea Party people are OK in my book. At least they do something! You know, ACTIVE-ists.
    Our founding fathers knew big government would be our downfall and said so. Many of their quotes were prophetic.
    The Tea Party just wants what we all want-our freedom. Many are old enough as to see the before and after photos of our Country.
    They remember the Free Market and how we flourished. Also they tend to be Constitutionalists. A21 is the absolute antithisis of the Constitution, or any rights(and your local government is on board with it!). DemocratRepublican, left-right. What we have in common is way bigger than all that crap. Imposing opposition and polariization on the serfs.
    We take our eye off the ball.
    That’s never good.
    Sharade and distraction while incrementally orchestrating our decline.
    Getting us used to road blocks, cameras, now this. Another little step.
    Agenda 21 is what’s ‘goin on here.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  4. Pat P. says:

    Outlaw smoking right? It makes people able to drive OK after DRINKING wine in the wine country huh? How many people die or get disabled from a driver that smokes? How many people get mangled or killed and all their family suffers because of it? Gee- “Smoking” is becoming a crime- but drinking expensive wine in the wine country that makes you less in control of your brain and body (let alone mouth) is the “acceptable” lifestyle. Time for most of us people with only “one face” (not 2) to move!

    If our main local industry was tobacco, not wine- would smoking be outlawed or would drinking wine?

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  5. Pearl Alquileres says:

    T.E.A. Party is looking better all the time isn’t it!
    Smaller, weaker GOVERNMENT with less control over our Liberty.
    That’s what it’s all about.

    Yes, there IS the lunatic fringe as with any other political movement but the simple fact of the matter is that the smaller & weaker the GOVERNMENT is the less impact they have on our lives.

    So when the loonies in the T.E.A. Party try to use that smaller, weaker GOVERNMENT to do the things that scare you, they can’t.
    And when the GOVERNMENT tries to tell you how to live your life in YOUR OWN HOME… they can’t do THAT either!
    GET IT??!!!

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

  6. Elizabeth Krongold says:

    I’m in favor of making more actions crimes. It’s going to keep the police happy, the courts busy, the lawyers fat, the jails profitable, the poor destitute and the politicians popular.

    In fact, why don’t we make breathing a crime?

    Oh, I guess C02 emissions ARE a crime. Hold your breath! The supervisors might have you arrested!

    Especially Valerie Brown, the ICLEI queen. How about Noreen Evans, if she gets it? She’s another Agenda 21 chest pounder. Susan Gorin, another one. Who else? They can’t wait to make life one big crime that they can selectively enforce. Can we kick them out please? Haven’t you had enough?

    Their schemes are bankrupting us–they’d rather jail you for smoking than pave 1,230 miles of roads in Sonoma County.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  7. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Creating an environment where citizens reporting each other is acceptable.
    (like gestapos)
    Creating an environment in which there are more and more excuses for an official to be on your property or in your home.
    Creating an environment that oppressors
    prefer. Welcome to the new Agenda…
    A complete plan for complete control. AGENDA 21.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  8. J.R. says:

    Hey Un-do it,

    Letters to the Editor have been around for 60 years or more. Those published letters were not different than today’ public posting like this board.

    Don’t like reading opinions other than your own? Don’t waste our time by posting here.

    The politicians should be reading this comments because its feedback to their lame ideas.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  9. Steve Klausner says:

    I’ll tell you what I’m tired of…chewing gum on the ground in public areas. Is there anything more disgusting; chewed and spit from a stranger’s mouth, baked in the sun, and tramped upon by an untold number of feet, and now you got to scrape it off the bottom of your shoe? YUCK!

    This is the next big public health issue the County should address. SMART should ban chewing gum from their terminals and trains.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  10. Undo It says:

    It’s so easy to complain on a website! If people are that wrapped up about this ordinance (and it is a stupid ordinance), work to repeal it. But that will never happen Involvement in the government process is much harder than typing on a keyboard.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  11. FMMT47 says:

    Why don’t they put more effort into lowering our taxes and stimulating the economy by doing so instead of passing more archaic laws? The BOS has overstepped their boundaries on privacy from governmental intrusion…here’s the future scenario: A complains about B smoking in their condo, the police arrive, B answers the door, when the officer tells B why he is there B can’t believe it, says “good day” to the officer and closes his front door, goes to his deck and lights up another cigarette. Within an hour an armed swat team shows up, throws flash grenades thru B’s windows, and rams the front door open tearing out of the frame. B is still smoking on his deck while enjoying a cold beer….the swat team rushes through the house, finds a startled B on the deck, B suddendly gets up and is filled full of bullets because a member of the swat team saw a metallic object in B’s hand that may have been a weapon. As B lays dying he asks one question: Why? The swat team officer tells him “We are trying to create a healthy smoke free environment for you and your neighbors so you don’t die of smoke related diseases.” B says “Oh, now I understand!”

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  12. Kay Tokerud says:

    Anyone voting for this should not be re-elected. I wonder how the police will react to receiving calls about someone seeing or smelling smoke coming from an apartment? It’s hard enough to get the police to come out after a burglary.

    This law is wrong in a number of ways. First, it discriminates against renters. Then, it bans the use of a legal product. Then, it will be difficult to prove who is smoking or even which apartment it is coming from. Won’t smokers merely put out the cigarette if the police come knocking? Won’t they deny that they were smoking? How can the police prove that they were the one doing it if the cigarette has been put out before opening the door? The whole thing is ridiculous and laughable. I can’t wait to see what happens when these accused smokers wind up in court.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the absurdity of having smoking pot (with a card) legal but smoking cigarettes is illegal. Aren’t both of these things considered smoking? Are the next door neighbor’s kids getting stoned by the second-hand marijuana smoke? In the minds of our supervisors, this is better than cigarette smoke coming in. I wonder if they are stoned to decide this. Unbelievable.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  13. Terry says:

    The first I heard of this stupid smoking ban was on the national radio show…Bob & Tom. Boy did they have fun knocking Santa Rosa. I don’t smoke, but if you want to and risk cancer and such, who should say if you can do it in your own house?? Only you or your family, not a bunch of fools that call themselves the city council. It is your house and your life, not theirs.

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  14. 505Alive says:

    So, you can sort-of-legally smoke pot in your apartment, but not cigarettes?

    Let’s see; my Dad died from smoking-initiated emphysema, age-77. One of my Aunts drank a lot and added sleeping pills, age-47. An Uncle drank a lot and died in a traffic accident, age-55. A friend of mine tried to drink to death, but failed; age-30.

    In my experience, it seems like alcohol kills people at much younger ages than tobacco. Makes more sense to prohibit alcohol use in your apartment. But, they tried that in the ’30s. Didn’t work out.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  15. Barbara Johnes says:

    Typical BS from the Board of Stupidvisors. I don’t smoke and never have. But how can they say it illegal to smoke in your own apartment or condo?

    Why didn’t they ban weed? It really smells bad and this “medicinal” nonsense is only fooling the old hippies of which we seem to have elected several in this county.

    The phoney political zealots who enact these types of laws and regulations in the “interest of our health” are in reality, infringing on personal liberty.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  16. The Hammer says:

    I hate cigarette smoke and don’t think much of those poor soles who can’t stop smoking. But this is an invasion of privacy and I can’t believe the ordinance is constitutional. Who in the hell do the supervisors think they are, Gods. What’s next?

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  17. Levi says:

    I’m Intelligent. Liberals should be banned

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7

  18. Money Grubber says:


    Exactly correct.

    The government rails against tobacco yet allows tax credits to encourage it as a crop in the USA and gleefully uses the tax on finished product.

    Furthermore, property owners OWN the inside of their condo. Its only a matter of time before someone successfully sues the City over this illegal law. The City can not legally dictate how you live your life inside your own property when you are using a product that is not illegal in and of itself.

    More cash from the City budget to defend an illegal law. Nice. Very nice.

    Thumb up 37 Thumb down 1

  19. Steveguy says:

    ” I am a vegan, and the smell of cooking meat should be against the law “.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4

  20. Steveguy says:

    ” You are in violation of the smoking ordinance, I need to search your house ”

    ” But sir, my wife just gave birth and this is my cigar”

    Bzzzzzzzzzztt ,, Tasered dude. Jailed too.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  21. Steveguy says:

    If the fines are high enough, the sheriffs will be busing in your door.

    Gangsters have no money, and are scary, so the cops will come after you in your own home. Governance by infraction fines. WOW

    I should open a pitchfork and torch store. Make big $$$, but the environmental review will take 3 years, and I’ll have to pay a carbon tax for the torches. Can’t win, yet.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  22. Kim says:

    Well bear…you didn’t leave anything for ME! You hit all the points!

    Some folks better start on their diet now, the obese are next on the radar. They’re easy to see on the screen, they make such a large blip! Its only a matter of time ;-)

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  23. truth in news says:

    It would be refreshing if our government focused on the laws in place and quit creating laws the police can’t enforce.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  24. Duane says:

    Ridiculous. Stupid. Wasteful.

    Let’s focus on fixing real problems in Sonoma County and quit trying to legislate constituents private lives.

    VOTE, People!

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  25. Greg Karraker says:


    Thank you. I detest smoking, having lost a close family. But it’s a personal responsibility issue, not a Sonoma County issue. A national ban on all smoking would be nearly impossible to enact, but this lopsided legislation looks even more unconstitutional than prohibiting smoking outright.

    Why? Because it gives homeowners the “privilege” to smoke in their own living rooms while denying renters the same “privilege”. Yes, I know there are condo-owners in multi-unit buildings and renters in detached houses, but they are the exception.

    Because of this one legal wedge, expect Sonoma County to be descended on by an army of tobacco company lawyers, who will force the county to spend millions of our tax dollars defending this ill-considered ban.

    On the bright side, we won’t have any more money to waste on bicycle paths and roundabouts.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  26. Pat P. says:

    So- Now you can’t smoke- but can drink there- and get in a vehicle and KILL people instantly because you’re drunk from being allowed to drink then you crash! But a cig? OHHH! Smoking- HOW dangerous! Generations of my family lived and have lived many many years (80′s on up in age) with and around smokers- no problems- but if a drunk driver crosses the road- a vehicle slamming into another vehicle is MUCH MORE CHANCE OF PERMANENT LIFE LOSS!!!
    Smoking is not perfect- but it’s not as dangerous as other everyday stuff- electricity, stairs, drunk drivers,etc
    Can we be real, instead of politically “perfect”
    “He who is without sin-” You know the rest.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  27. bear says:

    So your neighbor is going to be able to call a cop if h/she even suspects you’re smoking anything? And our overstaffed Sheriff’s Dept. will handle it. Sounds like a great way to encourage neighborhood conflict and put a lot more people in jail for things that might be secondary to a smoking issue. Oh, we can’t afford the jail without taking State inmates? Where does that leave us?

    Then we could go after the drunks and the fat people. And what’s this about prohibiting smoking in “open areas?” So if I’m the lucky owner of a single family home, I get busted for stepping outside for a smoke? Brilliant!

    You may as well ban tobacco and every sort of smoked product everywhere in the County. All the city councils could do the same, so then we could have another Prohibition, which has worked so well in the past.

    If you don’t like smoking, live on a site where the property owner prohibits it. You might also want to consider banning cars and diesel trucks, since they are an equal if not greater source of air pollution. Then we could get into agricultural practices and pesticide issues. Then water quality.

    Then we could solve the healthcare problems.

    If you told me the County would tax me to provide healthcare for all, I might listen.

    This Health Department and BOS are out of control, and will be voted out for stuff like this. A rookie mistake, but too bad, because we need people with brains – conservative or liberal to address real issues.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  28. derek says:

    If Sonoma is dead set on banning smoking in nearly every area of the county, then why not ban exhaust emissions from all vehicles. Cars & buses produce thousands of times more carcinogens than cigarettes yet are not controlled anywhere near the degree that tobacco is controlled.
    People should be aware of the FACTS & not the FICTIONS of second hand smoke. Researchers continue to pander to the people with an agenda.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  29. LEVI says:

    Smoking tobbaco is illegal
    smoking dope – OK

    Sonoma county , the land of fruits and nuts

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

  30. Jim says:

    Typical hypocrites. The government idiots love to rail against smoking yet I never hear them complain about the MASSIVE taxes they collect form their sales. Why doesn’t the government just ban smoking? Because the lost money would be too much of a hit.

    Just keep on voting in the same people and you get more and more intrusion into your freedom. They won’t let you smoke in the car, in your home, near your home….what’s next?

    And how about that weed Sebastopol? Oh yeah, that’s “medicinal”.

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 4

  31. srk says:

    This will help increase real estate sales as only home owners will have the right to smoke.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  32. Frank says:

    The ordinance as Sebastopol that have strict smoking prohibitions.
    will this include weed too, nooooooooo
    boycott, boycott

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

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