Having a smoke-free choice for residents living in multi-unit housing is the goal of Sierra Madre C.A.R.E. (Clean Air Residential Environments.) The coalition is hoping for the support of the community and the backing of City Council to get an ordinance passed that will prohibit smoking discount Parliament cigarettes in apartment complexes and multi-unit dwellings.
Similar ordinances have been adopted in 55 California communities, including neighboring South Pasadena, where it is illegal to smoke in any complex that includes two or more units.
Ian Nunley, a C.A.R.E. member and Director of Health Policy for Day One Inc. in Pasadena, says that the group’s focus is to ensure that the health of all multi-unit housing residents is catered to and addressed.
“The over-arching goal of our coalition’s work in Sierra Madre is to guarantee clean air living environments in order to better protect the public health of residents,” Nunley said. “One way we hope to move this forward, is urging City Council to consider a smoke-free multi-unit housing ordinance that would help prevent secondhand smoke from endangering the health and safety of residents.”
Former Councilmember Joe Mosca met with C.A.R.E. in August 2011, but Mosca has since resigned from his position.
C.A.R.E. says that when apartment dwellers smoke in their units, neighbors are still at risk for secondhand smoke. Smoke can enter into apartments through air ducts, cracks in walls or ceilings or through open windows or doors. This can especially affect residents with special needs, according to Nunley. “The elderly, children, and pets are some of the most susceptible to the negative effects associated with drifting [secondhand smoke],” he said.
Michelle Sandberg of C.A.R.E. says that 5% of Sierra Madre residents have been surveyed and, of them, 90% believe that secondhand smoke is a health danger and over 80% would like at least some multi-unit residential buildings in Sierra Madre to be smoke-free.
“For the same reasons you don’t want to share the road with someone who has been drinking, we don’t want to share immediate surrounding air with someone who is smoking,” Sandberg said. “People should drink responsibly and not put others at risk when they drink, and smokers should smoke responsibly and not expose others to unwanted secondhand smoke that is hazardous to our health.”
For C.A.R.E.’s issue to be on a future City Council agenda, it must be placed there by a Councilmember.
C.A.R.E. has reached out to Mayor John Buchanan via e-mail (see their letter above) and addressed the City Council publicly during a December City Council meeting, but has yet to formally sit down with another Councilmember to discuss the possibility of an ordinance.
“Thus far, our coalition has had a rather rough time trying to meet with City Council members in order to move our issue forward…This has made it very difficult for us to gain any type of traction in moving the ordinance forward further,” said Nunley.
Mayor Pro Tem Josh Moran said in an interview with Patch that he’d be open to sitting down with C.A.R.E. “I have been aware of C.A.R.E. since they have been coming to City Council and announcing their meetings at Bean Town each month,” Moran said. “I have never received an email or a call from their organization, but I will make every effort to meet with them and review their packet,” Moran said.
Nunley is eager for that meeting. “If the members of the City Council were to sit down with our coalition and afford us the opportunity to truly convey to them how such an ordinance could benefit public health,” said Nunley, “I think they would understand why this is vital for the Sierra Madre community.”