HEALTH

Second-hand smoking ban introduced in Maryland

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Does the noise from your neighbor's loud music drive you crazy? What about cooking odors? And if it's your neighbor's ''cigarette smoking'' that's 'most annoying, a Maryland delegate is on your side.

Delegate Ben Kramer introduced a new bill in Annapolis Friday that would make second hand smoke a nuisance in apartments, condos and town homes.

The bill would make it easier to bring their neighbors to court and would demand that homeowners associations and landlords take action when tenants complain about smoking.

One Maryland resident, David Schuman says the smoke wafting in through the plumbing and sockets into his residence was a nuisance and a health hazard.

“Headaches, watery eyes, like walking into a smoke filled bar,” he says. “His (neighbor’s) activity is not inside his home because it's traveling into my home."

Three years ago, Schuman took his neighbor to court over his vice and the case is now before Maryland's court of special appeals. Filters placed in Schuman's home tested positive for nicotine but until possibly now, there's been no law for people wanting to extinguish this nuisance.

Montgomery county's Kramer says a number of his constituents have complained of situations similar to Schuman’s. In one case, he says a woman has started sleeping in her car to avoid a neighbor's smoke.

Although the measure wouldn't outlaw smoking in these multi-unit buildings, opponents argue it could affectively do just that.

Kramer says Utah is the only other state with a law like this. However there are a number of localities in states like California that have placed bans on smoking in multi-unit dwellings or laws like one in Montgomery County banning smoking in the common areas of apartments, condos and townhomes.

James Repace, a second-hand smoke consultant, testified before Maryland leaders on a new bill designed to make smoking in apartments, townhomes or condos a nuisance.

“If people want to do it to themselves, it's fine but you just can't do it to your neighbor,” Repace says.

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