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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Apartment Renters Deserve Smoke-free Living Now Worldwide

"O my beautiful little home" is the English version of one of my favourite French country songs. Home is where the heart is. How much all of us long to have a decent home, one where we feel safe and secure. I sure know how I long to come home, hang up my hat and relax next to my man.  I am a hat wearer and I have the cutest straw hat for gardening, boating and long walks. But nothing is better than a long walk full of fresh air except coming home.

One small problem.

Becoming larger and more annoying each day. Okay, it kinda defeats the whole purpose of coming home, makes me dread just what the air quality will be like in my apartment hallway. I'm embarrassed to have guests over. They can't stand it either. They are praying and hoping I'll move. You see, some not so respectful or careless or downright rude people keep smoking in the hallway. This smoke pours into my apartment and burns my throat as I try to fall asleep or ruins a home-cooked meal I spent hours preparing.

 It bothers my sweetheart, my guests, it bothers my cat who wheezes. I do yoga and meditate. How lovely doing it in a place that smells like an ashtray. Now you are learning more and more dear readers why I am calling for a tobacco free world. This second-hand smoke prematurely ages skin, is proven to decrease energy levels and it is tiring as well as disgusting smelling. I am trying to recuperate from two difficult surgeries last year, as well as heal other people. I can not stand to call this my home and I am FURIOUS that so little is being done.

 I've seen them walk with a lit cigarette in their mouth. I've politely asked three different people to not smoke in the hallway. I am met with derision and scorn. They didn't believe it was law. And I had a fight on my hand to try and get bylaw to come put stickers saying no smoking. Which these disrespectful persons tore down. Really.

Even though this is a bylaw since over 14 years, and in the past few years moved up the scale to become a provincial law, with a fine of up to 5,000$. Does this fine deter them? Few of my friends wanted to act as witnesses to catch these misbehavers. Bylaw officers arrive sometimes days later to inform me they don't smell anything in the hallway. There needs to be more education, more signage, more clear signage, and landlords need to be more cooperative in providing proper clean hallways. Apartments need to be properly sealed, with no air able to leak in. Since it is virtually impossible to eliminate all tobacco from seeping in from neighbours, does it not make sense to create fully tobacco-free apartment buildings? Cities like Winnipeg have this, as well as all rental housing owned by the city of Ottawa. Anyone renting from the city must abide by zero smoking in their unit or hallway or anywhere on the grounds deemed to be smoke-free. The future is here and it is cleaner, healthier and fresher. Don't you just love it?

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