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Mountain View bans smoking in multi-family residences, including common areas and inside units

Original post made on May 26, 2021

The Mountain View City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night on a far-reaching ban on smoking, prohibiting residents from smoking tobacco or marijuana in all apartments, condos and other multi-unit housing properties.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 4:00 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by lan
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 26, 2021 at 5:15 pm

lan is a registered user.

No doubt second hand smoke is unhealthy, and marijuana simple smells awful. I try to avoid cigarette or pot smoke if possible.

But how can the city enforce such a ban that discriminates against residents who live in a particular type of housing? And is the city going to go after my neighbor who lives right on the other side of my patio fence when he smokes pot and the smoke fills up my home?

This ban clearly communicates only the really wealthy, single family home owners of Mountain View can smoke in their homes. All of the 'poorer' residents cannot.


Posted by OldGuy
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 26, 2021 at 6:27 pm

OldGuy is a registered user.

I have recently developed an aggressive cancer and am in constant pain and discomfort. I don't currently use cannabis but was hoping that might provide some relief. Now I guess not. I have never smoked tobacco.


Posted by J
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 26, 2021 at 8:14 pm

J is a registered user.

@OldGuy edibles might be an option? But I agree that enforcing this based on the type of residence seems questionable and potentially discriminatory.


Posted by Phil
a resident of Castro City
on May 26, 2021 at 10:39 pm

Phil is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 27, 2021 at 8:33 am

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

I have mixed feelings about this measure. But the basic facts are clear: air pollution kills, and causes lifelong problems like asthma.

As the saying goes, the right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. And the right to smoke your smoke ends at the same place.

Now can we finally do something about filthy gas-powered leaf blowers?


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on May 27, 2021 at 9:50 am

SRB is a registered user.

I'm with Pat Showalter on this one, City is over-reaching and in an unfair way (by imposing the ordinance on only some types of housing).

As for the Vice Mayor's justification : "It was sweltering in here ... but I couldn't get any relief because if you open the windows smoke comes in."

I don't have AC, I don't smoke, nor do any of my neighbors. Yet I've had to close my windows and "swelter" many times last year ... due to the wildfires. Those are not going away any time soon and won't be banned by any City ordinance.

My solution has been to get a small AC unit and upgrade all the air filters in my home.

Instead of that over-reaching ordinance, City should provide incentives to upgrade Air filtering in its residents' homes. Maybe use some of the Federal Covid Rescue Funds for subsidizing such a program?



Posted by Peter
a resident of North Bayshore
on May 27, 2021 at 10:17 am

Peter is a registered user.

I hope next that Mountain View will pass laws to prevent overeating. Obesity is a huge concern which not only destroys the health of the individual but also causes problems in society.

Please pass laws to make it illegal to consume more than like 3000 calories in a day or otherwise engage in unhealthy eating habits!!!!


Posted by Activist Socialist
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 27, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Activist Socialist is a registered user.

This is idiotic. I've never smoked, and don't condone smoking, but someone smoking in the privacy of their own home isn't hurting anyone. Automobiles do a heck of a lot more to pollute the air than smokers. Are we going to ban cars in residential areas?


Posted by Bernie Brightman
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 27, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Bernie Brightman is a registered user.

It's about time and they need to go further. I feel sorry for people living in standalone houses, which are built much too close together these days, because the neighbor smoking over the fence can really be a foul source of air pollution.

Another issue that the city needs to look at in this regard is barbecuing. People generating smoke from these grills, say in a downstairs unit, create just as much of a health hazard. Inhaling smoke, of any kind, is not good for your lungs, folks. And in these days of a super dry, drought climate, they're creating significant fire hazards as well.


Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 27, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

I am disturbed that the city is regulating what people can smoke in their homes. This seems like an invasion of privacy as well as regulatory overreach. Regulating this behavior in indoor and outdoor common areas is reasonable, but inside one's home? Crazy.

Also, I second Jeremy Hoffman's proposal to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, which emit high levels of formaldehyde, benzene, fine particulate matter and other smog-forming chemicals. The emissions from these blowers are known to cause asthma attacks as well as serious heart and lung disease.


Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 27, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

This seems like a huge government over-reach. Thank you, Pat, for recognizing this. I don't smoke and am very sensitive to cigarette smoke. I'm glad few people smoke in this area. Car exhaust and especially diesel are really horrible when I'm exercising and riding my bike. I'm also glad most people shower and don't fart all the time. We can't solve everything with regulations and we have to accept some inconveniences as part of being in a society together. Let's all try a little more tolerance.


Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 27, 2021 at 3:30 pm

PeaceLove is a registered user.

Tobacco smoke is pernicious and disgusting. I have a neighbor who smokes in his own backyard and it wafts directly into my apartment. But the city has no business decreeing what people can and can't do in their own homes - especially in a discriminatory manner that allows my neighbor to smoke (he's in a house) but not others.

Cannabis is widely used by people with all sorts of medical conditions and the smokeable flowers are one of the quickest-acting ways to get pain relief. For the city to ban *thousands* of suffering residents from legally smoking cannabis in their own home is truly reprehensible and cruel. But unsurprising: the MV City Council has ignored and abused sick and suffering cannabis patients for 25 years (since the passage of Prop 215 way back in 1996) and this move is just the latest show of their contempt.


Posted by ShorelineWestMan
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 27, 2021 at 5:43 pm

ShorelineWestMan is a registered user.

Nanny-state over reach. I don’t smoke but I hope someone takes this to court because it will likely and hopefully be thrown out. Only the wealthy elite in their single family castles will now be able to enjoy the simple freedom of a smoke in their own homes. Not surprised totalitarian tendencied Lieber supports this. Surprised Showwalter opposed...good for her.


Posted by Activist Socialist
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 27, 2021 at 9:43 pm

Activist Socialist is a registered user.

This is why voting is important. When only NIMBYs vote reliably, this is the sort of policy you get. City council matters!


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 28, 2021 at 6:16 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

This is BS. Point me to one study showing that secondhand marijuana smoke is a health risk. The Council needs to get off their high horse. If people can't smoke marijuana outside, and they can't smoke in their own homes, I say they should be allowed to smoke at the Mountain View City Council building.


Posted by Miriam
a resident of North Bayshore
on May 28, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Miriam is a registered user.

This is like prohibition... it will never work & can't be monitored. And if someone is ratted on by a neighbor, will they be fined, arrested? Talk about Big Brother... I am not a smoker, but do take a toke every once in a while. So I'm not allowed to take a hit or two off my pot pipe in my own home? Outrageous!! Good for Pat Showalter for standing up to the mob.


Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 29, 2021 at 3:18 pm

PeaceLove is a registered user.

I have neighbors directly below me who like to barbecue on the weekends, directly under my kitchen window. I know the moment they start because the smoke (which is carcinogenic and linked to respiratory disorders) goes directly up into my apartment such that I have to close all my windows on that side of the house. On a hot day I have the choice to have my apartment carcinogenic or unbearably hot and stuffy.

Will the City Council be banning people in apartments from barbecuing on their own balconies and patios? If not, how is this not comparable to banning people from smoking in their own homes, especially considering the volume of toxic smoke is much greater from a barbecue than from a cigarette? (Cannabis smoke, as correctly mentioned above, has no clinically established toxicity and no known fatalities.)


Posted by JustAWorkingStiff
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2021 at 12:44 pm

JustAWorkingStiff is a registered user.

I've have had a no-smoking rule inside my small apartment complex for several years.
Two cases where people wanted to smoke outside, and one did not dispose of butts correctly.
I really question if we need to add another regulation.
Because this regulation adds no benefits to my tenants.
I am sure the people who created this ordinance will say, oh, it doesn't take much to enforce.
But it is just another regulation, a few more dollars and posting more signs.
Just one more item on another pile of things to take care of
But who cares, as long as it is others people's time, other people's money.


Posted by Jay
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Jay is a registered user.

I used to live on the second floor in a Villa De Wright apartment in the mid-90s. The tenet below me was an apparent chain smoker who rarely seemed to leave home. Smoked most of the time in his tiny backyard and I never could open my window. It felt very unfair.

I think that cigarette is very addictive so that people are not in control of themselves. I’m incredulous that many people smoke pot with the regularity or amount of a heavy smoker—if you do that you’ve really got a problem. I think city officials just hate marijuana which is why it’s legal but you can’t buy it in MV.

More than anything this seems to be illustrative of a area that’s literally choking on its own success. Left the Bay Area and live in a large home out of state with plenty of space for smoking or toking (neither of which I do) but I can run my woodworking power tools without bothering my neighbors. Bay Area can be really nice living, but the expense and contentious of it is mind boggling.


Posted by drslb
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 4, 2021 at 6:19 pm

drslb is a registered user.

Much as I wish everyone would quit smoking, this does seem discriminatory as single family folks could smoke cigarettes and pot in their back yards and pollute their neighbors. Would make more sense to have a law that if there were complaints the smoker would have to mitigate. I’m sure you could buy a small device to suck away your cigarette or pot smoke. My guess is there will be law suits. I wonder if they consulted the police department about how they feel about being called to enforce this law. Concerned re: harassment of POC and unequal enforcement. Doesn’t seem that City Council thought this one through.

I am on a condo board. The city of MV has other strange controlling ordinances that apply to multi family but not single family homes that demand city approval for property upgrades and even painting the complex if you change colors. Seems discriminatory as well.


Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 5, 2021 at 3:59 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

I'm not a tobacco smoker and I own a single family home, so this doesn't really apply to me, but it does seem over the top. Some kind of responsibility to mitigate seems more reasonable.


Posted by Hrw
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 8, 2021 at 12:41 am

Hrw is a registered user.

I applaud the council for passing the smoking ban on multi-family residence. Santa Clara and Palo Alto also have this ban. Everyone is talking about the rights of a smoker, but what about my rights? I should have to right to breathe clean air and not have to close all my windows and doors in the warm summers! I cannot even enjoy my patio backyard without breathing in second hand smoke. Thank you Mountain View Council for placing this ban on multi-family unit


Posted by Mark
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 12, 2021 at 7:06 am

Mark is a registered user.

This is to inform the current incumbent city council members that in the next elections, I will not be casting a vote for any of them. An exception Might be made for Ms Showalter, despite her being a Google-stooge, but at least she understands the constitution. This nanny-state ordnance demands explanation as to how it is intended to be enforced, and who by. It IS discriminatory in that it within Mountain View restricts the enjoyment of certain legal rights granted to all Californians, only to those who own their own homes. Doesn't the police department have better things to do than chase down tobacco and pot smokers, and wasn't that the purpose of Prop 64, to free them for attending to worse crimes? Will they be tasked to respond to 'shot-spotter' calls whenever people flick cigarette lighters? Depend upon a neighborhood of snitches and Karens peering thru windows at their neighbors, willing to make other people pay for the "pollution" they are causing, (let alone all the pollution caused by the increased traffic Mountain View equates with its new-tech 'prosperity?') This law, claimed to be enacted in the interest of "public health', is one fitting example of the authoritarianism so eagerly and avidly embraced by the MVCC. And that is why I will not be re-electing any of you if I can help it.


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