BELMONT, Calif., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Public health advocates say they are closely watching developments in Belmont, Calif., where the city council has banned smoking in private apartments.
The city in California's Silicon Valley has the nation's strictest second-hand smoke law in which smoking is banned in apartments or condominiums that share a common floor or wall with another unit, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The newspaper said the law took effect on Jan. 9 after a 14-month grace period, giving apartment building owners time to comply with new rules such as rewriting lease agreements to ban smoking, and giving tenants who objected to the changes time to move.
Under the measure, $100 fines can be levied, though Belmont city officials say no penalties have yet been imposed.
"I think Belmont broke through this invisible barrier in the sense that it addressed drifting smoke in housing as a public health issue," Serena Chen, the regional director of policy and tobacco programs for the American Lung Association of California, told the Times. "They simply said that secondhand smoke is no less dangerous when it's in your bedroom than in your workplace."