Yolo County is considering a possible ban on smoking in multiunit residences in unincorporated areas.
The county’s board of supervisors directed its staff to get feedback from residents who live in apartment buildings, condos and duplexes about the potential ordinance and the prevalence of indoor smoking earlier this month.
Steven Jensen with the Yolo Health and Human Services Agency said that enforcement of any ordinance would only happen if neighbors filed complaints.
One option for penalties the county is considering includes sending violators at least three written warnings. After the warnings, residents who smoke indoors could be fined $100 for the first violation, $200 for a second and $500 for a third.
"Nobody [will go] around knocking on doors, trying to smell anything or search anybody's apartment,” Jensen said. “It's complaint driven, by units. We already get complaints and there's nothing that we can do except to say 'I'm really sorry.'"
There are no laws in any Yolo County city banning smoking in multiunit residences, though Davis requires common areas in shared residences to be smoke-free. The American Lung Association gave West Sacramento, Woodland and Winters F grades in the smoke-free housing category of its 2021 State of Tobacco Control report card. Davis received a D in the same category.
"At a minimum, we would think that indoor smoke-free places would be really good, but to extend it to outdoor areas would be even better,” Jensen said. “It could be the entire campus, like Spring Lake Apartment complex, here in Woodland, [which] opened up 100% smoke-free, or it could be designated areas."
An estimated 28 million multiunit housing residents are exposed annually to secondhand smoke that came from somewhere else in their building, according to the CDC.
The board will hear feedback from the community before directing county staff to draft an ordinance.
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