Re: Response to M Coyne’s request for complete ban on smoking.
On Oct. 4, Margaret Coyne wrote, in part: “It’s really simple: enact a complete ban on smoking in apartments and let landlords evict those who continue to smoke” (“Calling for a complete ban on smoking,” Letters to the Editor).
Wow, Ms. Coyne, aren’t you just the most special person in the world!
Are you actually advocating that landlords be allowed to evict current tenants because they smoke … a legal substance? Are you actually advocating that landlords be allowed to refuse an apartment to a potential tenant because that person smokes? Are you actually advocating for a complete ban of smoking in multi-family dwellings? Does your position solely affect renters or are you also addressing homeowners of condominiums and townhomes?
Here is the deal: Tobacco is a legal substance, whether in the form of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. To discriminate against smokers is akin to discriminating against someone who drinks alcohol, who lives in an apartment. It is akin to discriminating against someone who has children, who lives in an apartment. It is akin to discriminating against a person who eats junk food, who lives in an apartment. It is akin to discriminating against a person with a disability, who lives in an apartment. Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, having children, eating junk food, having a disability … none of these things should be the subject of overt discrimination. Perhaps you are unaware that there are laws, state and federal, that prohibit landlords from discriminating against certain activities or certain people.
You, Ms. Coyne, are advocating for legalized discrimination against apartment-dwellers who happen to engage in an activity you personally do not like. No one in this fair city should have to kowtow to your personal views.
An argument I have made twice in this newspaper is that it makes no sense to apply a law particularly pointed at apartment dwellers and not at all residents in any type of dwelling structure. If a person in a single-family dwelling can smoke with impunity, then it is patently discriminatory to prohibit a person from smoking in their apartment, condominium, or townhome. It makes no sense to legislate what someone can do in the privacy of their own home, as long as said activity is not illegal.
Ms. Coyne, recognize that you are advocating for discrimination against people engaged in a legal practice in the privacy of their own homes. If smoking and smokers bother you so very much, perhaps you could move to a place where you will have a one-mile radius of smoke-free space around you or you could live in a hermetically sealed home or you could buy an air purifier.
There is no justification for your position, Ms. Coyne.