NEW YORK -- Banning smoking in multiunit residential buildings is seen as one of the final frontiers for health advocacy groups in the United States.
The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project based in Michigan said 60 public housing authorities in the United States have smoke-free policies, The New York Times reported Monday.
A number of cities in California have adopted smoke-free housing ordinances while the question of smoke-free housing legislation has been raised at the state level. In 1997 Utah passed an amendment stating that tobacco smoke may be considered a nuisance if it drifts from one residential unit to another. Utah's law also states that apartment complexes and condominium associations have the right to adopt smoke-free policies.
Legal expert Edward Sweda of Northeastern University Law School in Boston told the Times he knew of no law in the United States prohibiting residential property owners from banning smoking.
Since 1991 at least 27 lawsuits have been filed over smoking in multiunit buildings and judges have often sided with the non-smoker, Sweda told the Times.
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