New California law allows landlords to say 'No Smoking'

A smoke ring in the form of the number zero.
A smoke ring in the form of the number zero.
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Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that will allow landlords to ban smoking in rental properties. Supporters expect the measure to create more smoke-free households in California.

About a third of Californians rent units in buildings with other tenants. Until now, landlords had no control over whether any of those renters smoked. That fact has meant non-smokers and their children are sometimes exposed to the effects of secondhand smoke.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that secondhand smoke kills 49,000 non-smokers every year; and causes respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis in 300,000 children.

Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima wrote the measure. He says he hopes the new law will help to protect the health of non-smoking apartment dwellers when it takes effect in January.

The law will not require landlords to prohibit smoking in their buildings, but it will give them the authority to do that if they choose.