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What Can I Do About Secondhand Smoke


Creating Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing

Multi-Unit Housing InfographicGoing Smokefree Matters

There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke exposure. The home is the main place many child and adults breathe in secondhand smoke.

About 80 million (1 in 4) people in the US live in multiunit housing such as apartments. Each year, an estimated 28 million multiunit housing residents are exposed to secondhand smoke in their home or apartment that come from somewhere else in their building, like a nearby apartment.

A community member contacted me regarding the secondhand smoke in her apartment. This individual spoke to her manager and was informed that people have the right to smoke and refused to take action that would protect the tenant’s health and the health of her children from the secondhand smoke exposure.

The “right to smoke” is not a constitutional right. The Public Health Law & Policy technical assistance legal center produced a legal memo to explain why the right to smoke has no legal basis. You can read the memo here:

Every person living in multiunit housing deserves to breathe smokefree air. If you’re sharing a building, you’re sharing the air. Go to to find additional resources about your options for protecting yourself and your family from drifting secondhand smoke.

Contact Sutter County Tobacco Control Program at (530) 822-7215 for more information and for assistance with smoke free multi-unit housing.

Talk to your building manager about adopting a smokefree multi-unit housing policy to protect residents, visitors and staff against secondhand smoke and reduce smoke-related maintenance and fire insurance costs. For more information and technical assistance call 530-822-7215 ext 276 or email Brian Cowan at [email protected]

Smokefree Dining


When you think of smoke-free outdoor dining policies what do you think of? Secondhand smoke protection for customers, kids, and other at-risk populations? Perhaps better tasting food for smokers?

One aspect of a smoke-free outdoor dining often left out of the picture is the enormous benefit that these policies bestow on staff workers of restaurants and bars. Staff that are required to wait tables in outdoor smoking areas are exposed to the same cancer-causing toxins that smokers breathe in. However, they don’t get to leave when a meal is finished. Exposure to secondhand smoke continues for these workers hour after hour and day after day.

Although California law bans smoking and vaping inside of restaurants and bars, many Sutter County residents who find themselves in outdoor dining areas are still exposed to disease causing smoke and aerosol.

There are currently 116 municipalities that have enacted comprehensive outdoor dining laws to protect their residents from secondhand smoke exposure. Not only do these laws even the playing field for businesses but they improve the health of both customers and staff.

If you are interested in more information on Smoke-free Outdoor Dining policies, please contact Sutter County Public Health. Call (530) 822-7215 or visit us at

List of Municipalities that restrict smoking in outdoor dining areas