Naomi Baker and three-month-old daughter Faith. Miranda Gathercole Langley Times

Mom wants smoking ban in all B.C. multi-unit dwellings

Online petition presses provincial government to toughen restrictions

After two years of cigarette smoke seeping into her home, a Langley mom has launched an online petition to have smoking banned in all multi-unit residential buildings.

The Change.org petition for a “Multi-Unit Dwelling Smoking Ban in B.C.” by Naomi Baker (using her maiden name of Naomi Goffman) went up Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26) with a goal of 1,000 signatures.

By Tuesday, the number of signatures was past 700.

Baker said it was the birth of her daughter Faith three months ago that convinced her to take action.

“That definitely put us on high alert,” Baker said.

“We are bringing our little baby into an ashtray.”

Baker and her husband bought their condo in Langley City in 2016.

They said they have been dealing with second-hand smoke coming into their unit through the walls and fixtures on a “near-daily basis” since they purchased their suite.

“We’ve tried to seal every crack, use fans, open windows and avoid the rooms where the smoke is present,” Baker said.

“We’ve tried approaching the neighbour who smokes.

“We’ve also lodged multiple complaints to the strata asking for them to help address the issue, but all of our attempts have been unsuccessful to date. “

Shortly before the Bakers moved in, strata council records show there was an attempt to make the building smoke-free, Baker said.

“The motion lost by one vote.”

The next year, a motion to ban smoking on common property bylaw passed, something the Bakers said has actually made the situation worse because the smoker can’t go out on their balcony.

“I have a right to life, I have a right to health,” Baker said.

“I’m not allowed to poison anyone else.”

The Bakers put their condo up for sale in June.

“We’ve tolerated it as long as we can,” Baker said.

The Times has reached out to the condo strata council for comment.

READ MORE: Langley City prepares new pot smoking regulations in advance of legalization

READ MORE: Court rules smoker has to butt out or move out

The petition asks Selina Robinson, the minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to make all multi-unit dwellings in BC smoke-free.

“Smoke-free multi-unit dwellings will vastly improve the health of British Columbians, reduce the risk of apartment (and) condo fires, and reduce cost of health care by reducing preventable health issues caused by second hand smoke.”

The petition notes that the legislature currently doesn’t accept digital signatures, and asks supporters to contact their local MLA and the minister directly.

Jack Boomer, director of the Clean Air Coalition of BC, said they get an average of two to three complaints a week about second-hand smoke.

“We understand the frustration,” Boomer said.

“When people go to their workplace, they’re protected (by law from second-hand smoke), but when they are in their castle, their home, they aren’t,” Boomer said.

He noted with recreational cannabis smoking about to become legal, “I don’t think second-hand smoke problems are about to go away.”

According to a new survey commissioned by the coalition, most people would support government measures to increase the amount of smoke-free multi-unit housing.

The May 2018 poll found that half of BC multi-unit housing residents surveyed have experienced second-hand smoke exposure and nearly 90 per cent consider it harmful.

Seventy per cent said the provincial government should make all new market rate and social housing complexes 100 per cent smoke-free and the same amount supported a no-smoking bylaw by default that applies to all units, including balconies.

Baker plans to create a “paper-based petition” that will meet the legislature’s submission guidelines.

Under the current “Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act” in B.C. people are not allowed to “smoke tobacco, hold lighted tobacco, use an e-cigarette or hold an activated e-cigarette” in common areas of apartment buildings, condominiums and dormitories or transit shelters.

That includes elevators, hallways, parking garages, party or entertainment rooms, laundry facilities and lobbies.

Just Posted

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Boundary Showcase, Take a Seat exhibits call for submissions

The upcoming spring exhibits call for community involvement.

Celebrating Family Day at Wilgress Lake fishing derby

The annual event was attended by over 125 people.

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read