ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — After three years of discussions and community outreach, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking in multi-unit residences located in the county’s unincorporated areas.
On Tuesday, County supervisors passed the ordinance — designed to reduce the negative impacts of secondhand smoke while addressing health inequities among vulnerable County residents.
“I represent some of the most at-risk residents of our County, with shorter life expectancies, poorer health outcomes and higher rates of asthma and other respiratory challenges,” said District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley.
“Today’s action represents a collaboration between advocates, community members, health experts and property owners and is one step closer to cleaner air in our homes.”
The ordinance will take effect July 1, 2022, which will prohibit smoking inside apartments, townhomes, condominiums, senior assisted living, long-term care facilities, hotels, and any other residence with two or more units.
Additionally, smoking will not be allowed in common areas indoors and outdoors, or within 25 feet of any doorway, window, vent, or other opening into a residence.
The ordinance will apply within the Urban Growth Boundary encompassing Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, Hayward Acres, Castro Valley, and San Lorenzo.
“Today’s passage of the multi-unit smoke free ordinance sends a powerful message to our unincorporated community that their health and wellbeing are of the utmost importance to the County,” said District 3 Supervisor Dave Brown.
“As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate the work of our Public Health Department to help ensure the safety of our residents during this difficult time.”
Tenants found to be in violation will receive up to three notices from the County’s Public Health Department (ACPHD) offering information and smoking cessation resources.
If smoking violations continue, the County’s Community Development Agency (CDA) may issue fines for additional violations, beginning with a $100 fine for a first violation in a three-year period, $200 for a second violation, and $500 for a third.
The County said residents who receive three warnings and three fines would be subject to eviction at the discretion of their landlord.
Alameda County’s unincorporated area now joins Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, and Emeryville as County jurisdictions requiring smoke-free multi-unit housing.
According the County, unincorporated area residents who have participated in the public County process around drafting the ordinance expressed overwhelming support for making multi-unit residences smoke-free.
In 2020, a La Familia survey of Eden Area residents in unincorporated Alameda County reported 93% of respondents smelled smoke or vape aerosols inside their unit or on the property.
“This Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing Ordinance will change the lives of those suffering from secondhand smoke now and will contribute to a healthier, more equitable, living standard for future generations to come,” said Jade Le, Program Manager with La Familia.
“The Board of Supervisors are setting a precedent for safe, smoke-free living with such a comprehensive policy.”