Banthin, however, describes it as “an organization that seeks to use the law to improve public health.”
When it comes to regulating smoking in privately owned properties, Banthin sees no pressing need for legislation. “A lot of landlords are going smoke-free voluntarily,” he says. “Condos also. It’s a selling point.”
But aren’t they trespassing on the right to do what you want in your own home? Aren’t the restrictions more moralistic than a valid response to any health threat?
“Those arguments fall flat,” Banthin says. “If we accept the premise that landlords can do with their property as they wish, the argument is inconsistent. And if you have the right to do what you want in your home, shouldn’t your neighbor have the same right? Your right to do what you want stops at your neighbor’s nose.
“As for secondhand smoke, the science is 100 percent irrefutable and widely accepted.”
Banthin sympathizes with those affected by bans. He advises landlords and other stakeholders on how to implement a no-smoking rule. Part of that includes engaging residents in the process.
“I have gone to hundreds of housing authority meetings,” he says. “I’m the first one that tells them. Most of them are upset, but most say, ‘OK, I recognize it’s important, so I’ll go outside.’ I think everybody gets it.”