First, the harmful effects of secondhand smoke are severe and widespread. Secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 41,000 heart disease-related and lung cancer deaths each year. Furthermore, the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and the California Air Resources Board has classified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the only way to fully protect nonsmokers is to eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites, and public places. However, 29% of Santa Clara County residents report smelling tobacco smoke drifting into their home from nearby apartments or from the outside.
Second, multiple county surveys show an increased demand for smoke-free housing in Santa Clara County. 96% of Santa Clara County apartment residents believe that smokers should not be allowed to smoke wherever they want and 84% said they would support a no smoking policy at their multi-unit housing complex. Several jurisdictions within Santa Clara County have already adopted smoke-free policies for multi-unit housing and most other jurisdictions prohibit smoking in entryways and service areas of nonresidential developments and at public events.