It doesn't take a genius or rocket scientist to know that cigarettes are bad news. Not only are they toxic to the person smoking, but they're bad for everyone around them too. I stopped smoking after a decade and only then realized how strong the smell is, even to the point of being annoyed at people smoking in their cars, when I'm in mine. I didn't know you could even smell it then! Sorry to anyone who had to smell my nasty habit!
We also know that smoking directly around kids kills them, both from cancers, asthma, and SIDS.
But a new study says that even parents who don't smoke can be putting their kids at risk ... by living in an apartment complex that includes smokers.
I know, I know. Just one more thing to worry about, right? But as we all know, smoke isn't contained just by a closed door, and often apartment complexes, especially those with indoor front doors, are going to have gaps under the apartment doors, meaning smoke goes everywhere. Think even ventilation systems, like the building's heat or central air, can be pumping nicotine into your "smoke-free" apartment. Yikes!
I distinctly remember by friend talking about how the house she lived in had been owned previously by an old woman who smoked only in the bathroom for years. When they moved in and painted the walls, the yellow nicotine seeped through the paint. BARF! So this stuff sticks to clothes, furniture, goes under doors, and is just plain nasty.
So obviously, your baby testing positive for nicotine in her blood when you don't even smoke is a BAD thing. The solution suggested is a pretty obvious one, though not a popular one amongst many: Ban smoking in multi-family buildings.
An approximate 7 million people live in apartments, so that's a lot of people potentially exposed to other people's smoke. People argue banning smoking in private homes would be unconstitutional, however:
Courts have ruled that smoking restrictions do not violate the U.S. Constitution and that the government can implement a ban if it has a “reasonable basis” for doing so (such as protecting the health of children). They note that the federal Fair Housing Act does not include a right to smoke.
But like the bar smoking ban, a lot of people propose that it be up to individual managements, but for the low-income, most at-risk groups, up and moving isn't exactly a piece of cake, so is it fair that they suffer as well?
The restaurant smoking ban in my state (and others) made me insanely happy because it was not okay for people to light up around my kid, and it seemed that people had absolutely no concern for children being exposed to their smoke either. Sadly, I even saw a mother take a newborn to the smoking section, and hold the baby on her lap while smoking. Made me sick and angry.
But to ban it in apartments? Honestly, GO FOR IT. We're detaching from the military any day now, because my husband has severe lung issues and can no longer serve on submarines and deal with the pressure. We may end up living in an apartment, and I sure as hell don't want my kids exposed to smoke from OTHER people, and my husband certainly doesn't need it either.
Even when I smoked, I supported bans, because I'm not selfish enough to think that my right to smoke overrode other peoples' right to NOT smoke with me, especially kids.
Do you support a ban on smoking in apartments? Are you worried about your child breathing in second hand smoke?
Image via Json Lind/Flickr