Instilling a Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing – Part IV
Recall, in an earlier article I mentioned how nicotine and its metobalized byproduct cotinine is measured in saliva, urine, blood, and newborn babies poo, and that this might be helpful in determining the best interests of the child in custody cases. In December 2010, the premier of measuring the drift of second-hand smoke, James L. Repace, provided expert testimony in a divorce case for a two-year old girl, exposing the high level of cotinine in her body causing the asthma.
As more and more voices look to authoritative sources, health sciences and legal opinions will influence decision-making. 2011 looks to be a pivotal point, and certainly 2011-2020 will be a pivotal decade. Dual demands of the market and need for legislation will spark discussions, dialogues, and diatribes.
In the meantime, many people are at the grueling initial stage of speaking up, and writing their first letter either to a tenant, landlord, non-profit Board, strata or co-op Council. That 'going on record' action initiates "instilling a fervent wish for smoke-free housing."
For those who write and don't receive any response, recognize the evidence gathering for what it is. Date stamp and initial the letter as 2nd request, even 3rd request. Begin to copy to your MLA's and Healthy Living/Healthy Community Specialists at BC health authorities like Fraser Health, or Vancouver Coastal Health.
No need for pleadings for a response. No response and repeated requests constitutes powerful evidence. Responses citing there is nothing that can be done, that legislation as it exists is being followed, signals someone in authority is uninformed, misinformed, misrepresenting, and perhaps stonewalling. All paper trail. All evidence.
Here are my example samples of letters reflecting that we are no longer at zero, but have matured by three years from exposure to media and internet searches.
Dear Tenant: Copy to Management.
As you are a smoker, I receive your second-hand smoke (and your "guests") into my suite.
In exploring how I might approach you and the landlord on this drifting second-hand smoke matter, I discovered a booklet, “When Neighbors Smoke.” In it, I am advised not to presume that you know the impact of your smoking on others in the common areas of the building and property, in suites, and specifically the impact on me your neighbor. I am to communicate to you my concerns, both verbally and in writing. The problem is I am unable to talk with you in person because of your third-hand smoke. Also, I'm afraid that my experience of smokers thus far has left me with a fear that you won't take me seriously, and will be rude. So I am left to this written letter.
So in this letter I want to inform you of the impact that your second-hand smoke has on my health, and that it disrupts the quiet enjoyment of my suite, my life.
The drifting second-hand smoke has worsened existing health matters, and now I have developed asthma. An asthma attack feels like someone is choking you, and when it happens at night, I can fall out of bed. My doctor asks that I request you to take your smoking outside and away from others.
I am aware of BC's latest Tobacco Reduction Strategy wherein they introduced the Smoke-Free Housing Initiative. There is quite a lot written in the papers and the internet about how non-smokers in multi-unit dwellings struggle with drifting second-hand smoke, and why there is a smoke-free housing initiative. On the smoke-free housing websites, there is legal information on how drifting second-hand smoke falls under a breach of quiet enjoyment in the Residential Tenancy Act, and Nuisance laws. I am going to request Management to begin the process for smoke-free housing.
Please inform yourself, take into consideration all these factors, and take your smoking outside, away from common areas, and from seeping into my suite. Your co-operation would be greatly appreciated.
As tenant [ ]in Suite [ ] is a smoker, I receive their second-hand smoke (and "guests") into my suite. In addition, I have mapped that there are several smokers who live on my floor, and below me. The drifting second-hand smoke has worsened existing health matters, and now I have developed asthma. Of course, I have a medical file documenting this, and my doctor has asked that I write you and my neighbor.
In exploring how I might approach this drifting second-hand smoke matter, I discovered a booklet, “When Neighbors Smoke.” In it, I am advised not to presume that my neighbor knows the impact of their smoking on others in the common areas of the building and property, in suites, and specifically the impact on me, their neighbor. I have now communicated with them, as per the attached copy.
In exploring the issue of second-hand smoke, I am aware of BC's latest Tobacco Reduction Strategy wherein they introduced the Smoke-Free Housing Initiative, calling on landlords to initiate smoke-free housing.
There is quite a lot written in the papers and on the internet about how non-smokers struggle with drifting second-hand smoke, and why there is a smoke-free housing initiative. On the smoke-free housing websites, there is legal and procedural information on how landlords might transform to smoke-free housing. There are the health considerations of non-smokers, the legal considerations and consequences, and the financial benefits.
Please inform yourself, and take into consideration all these factors. I request that you begin the process for smoke-free housing. I would appreciate being able to work on a committee doing the planning and implementation of smoke-free housing. Your co-operation would be greatly appreciated. Please keep me advised of your progress.
 Testimony of James Repace in the Matter of
Brandon W. Melton v. Brandy Jean Melton
Sevier County Circuit Court Case No. DR 2010-35-2
A report prepared for
The Tripcony Law Firm
415 N. McKinley, Suite 180
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-296-0606; fax 501-623-7686