Multi-Unit Housing Smoking Ban

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In response to San Ramon considering more tobacco restrictions

To the Editor:

Last Thursday’s article “San Ramon considering more tobacco restrictions” highlighted that City’s efforts to place additional regulations on the sale of flavored tobacco and electronic smoking devices. I commend our neighbors and urge the City of Oakland to continue in its efforts to protect residents by passing a Multi-Unit Housing Smoking Ban. Secondhand smoke exposure is deadly. Since the 1960’s approximately 2.5 million Americans died from diseases related to exposure from secondhand smoke. Children are particularly vulnerable.  Secondhand smoke has devastating health effects on children ranging from asthma to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Regulating tobacco is also essential to the elimination of health disparities in Oakland, where African Americans have the lowest life expectancy of any other group. According to the Centers for Disease Control, African Americans are more likely to die from smoking related diseases than whites, even though they smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking at a later age. African American adults and children are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke than another other racial group.

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It travels through cracks in walls, outlets and ventilation systems. The housing crisis is creating a demand for more affordable, multi-unit dwellings. It is incumbent on policy makers to pass laws to protect to the health of its citizens. A multi-unit smoking ban is an essential part of this effort.

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