NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New legislation being proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg could increase the number of smoke-free apartment buildings in the city.
1010 WINS Stan Brooks reports
Bloomberg is proposing a bill that would require apartment buildings to adopt a written policy on where smoking is or is not allowed for both inside and outside apartment buildings and share it with tenants, owners and prospective residents.
Bloomberg said he's not trying to ban smoking in residential buildings, but said people have a right to know if an apartment allows smoking.
"It seems to be something that a lot of people want," he said. "It's not regulating what the rules are in a building, but before you rent an apartment, you would know whether or not other people are smoking."
1010 WINS' John Montone reports
Bloomberg said it's important for renters to know the building's policy because second-hand smoke could travel into their apartments.
"If you smoke in one apartment, other people in the building do get some of that smoke in their air and they can make a decision on what to do," he said.
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When asked whether he would personally prefer more smoke-free buildings, the mayor said, "only if you want life expectancy to go up."
Smoker's rights activist Audrey Silk predicts the city will eventually try to ban smoking everywhere.
"[It's] another way to make it impossible to smoke," Silk told CBS 2's Dave Carlin. "The public should be alarmed that government can come in to our homes and deem what is inappropriate behavior that is otherwise legal."
Many renters agreed, saying this proposal goes too far.
"You should be able to do whatever you want in your own apartment," said one woman.
In 2003, New York banned smoking in restaurants and bars. Last year, it extended the ban to parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.
Leaders of the American Cancer Society praised Bloomberg for a plan they said will allow non smokers to avoid secondhand smoke in their own homes.
"The American Cancer Society receives many inquiries from residents concerned about second-hand smoke exposure in apartments. Often, nonsmoking tenants are unaware that their neighbor is smoking until that smoke seeps through the walls and snakes through the ventilation system. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of second-hand smoke exposure," said Blair Horner of the American Cancer Society of N.Y. & N.J.
The penalty for violating the proposed law would $100 per violation.
"This bill is about giving tenants the information they need to choose the best housing situation for themselves and their families," Horner added.
Bloomberg said his proposal was prompted by hundreds of complaint calls every month to the city's 3-1-1 system about second-hand smoke in apartments. A recent survey commissioned by the city found that New Yorkers overall favor the proposal by 64 to 30 percent.
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