My Father Smokes
by Jin Xiu Chen
Sep 05, 2012 | 16367 views | 1 1 comments | 483 483 recommendations | email to a friend | print
My father has been smoking since he was a teenager in China. As the mature son of a family of eight, he gave up schooling to support his family financially as a local sailor. His sailor friends got him addicted.

A pack of cigarettes a day used to be his habit. Over the years, he tried to cut down on his cigarettes. Six years ago, he experimented and brought home a box of nicotine patches. After three days, the patches were nowhere to be seen on his arm. He argued they made his skin itch.

Cigarette smoke smells. And not everyone in my family tolerates the smell. My father understands the harmful effects of smoking to his health, but what he can’t grasp is the impact of secondhand smoke.

Nowadays, when he longs for a smoke, he hides in the bathroom. But air travels. The fact that my father chooses to smoke in the bathroom shows that he cares about his children’s health. And we, as his children, also care for his health. He needs to try quitting again.

A smoke-free building would give him a bigger push to quit smoking. A smoke-free policy is largely self-enforced and a mutual agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals compounds and among them, more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

The NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City, a health advocacy group, promotes smoke-free housing because “Smoke-free housing protects the health of all New Yorkers, saves money for landlords and property owners, is strongly supported by the public, and completely legal.” A smoke-free environment is the perfect gift for everyone.

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September 10, 2012
Mr. Chen was correct in his pointing out that when someone smokes in their family, all members of the family have their health compromised.

Not only is the health of others in the home affected, but so are others living in other apartments as well. Secondhand smoke, a Class A carcinogen does not remain confined to the apartment where the smoker resides. Rather, secondhand smoke infiltrates other apartments and common hallways throughout the building by flowing under the apartment doors, electric outlets, vents and other minute openings in the walls.

That's why a landlord of a multiple housing unit (apartment) has the legal right to adopt a smokefree policy which would provide the health and safety protections that most of us have in indoor public places, such as workplaces, restaurants and bars and an increasing amount of outdoor public places such as parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.

Why should we all not have the same health and safety protections where we spend the most of our lives-in our homes?

A smokefree housing policy does not prohibit someone from smoking. It simply states that you can't smoke in a place where others are affected by your smoking. Just like in a public place that is not given a second thought at this date.