Griswold: Survey says Tulare County apartment renters favor smoking rules

The Fresno BeeJune 21, 2014 

— The American Lung Association of California has finished a survey of apartment building tenants in 12 smaller counties, including Tulare and Madera, about exposure to second-hand smoke.

There is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke, the Surgeon General has said.

The survey found that 34% said second-hand smoke has drifted into their rental unit, 61% said they'd support smoking bans inside apartments, and 69% said they'd support bans in common areas.

Because exposure is a public health issue, the Lung Association favors local ordinances that ban smoking in apartments, said Vanessa Marvin, advocacy director of the American Lung Association in California.

The Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency said in a statment announcing local survey results that the Public Health Department is working with residents and property owners to reach mutual agreement on smoking rules.

That's a step in the right direction, the Lung Association representative said.

"They are working with landlords individually to make their buildings smoke free," Marvin said. "That's terrific."

The California Apartment Association, a trade group for the rental property industry, said building owners should be free to set their own policies.

"We need to balance the public health needs of the residents with the operational needs of the rental property owner," said Joshua Howard, senior vice president for local governmental affairs.

Some are adopting smoke-free policies on their own, he said.

It's good marketing, some insurance companies are offering discounts, and removing carpets and painting the walls of units previously occupied by smokers is an expense, he said.

The survey, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, was paid for by CA4Health, a project of the Public Health Institute, using a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Tulare County, 154 people were surveyed in English and Spanish.

A fact sheet said 70% favor a smoking ban in common areas, 66% favor a ban on smoking inside apartment units, and 43% live in an apartment that has smoking rules inside or outside the building.

Madera County results have yet to be released.

COWGIRL: Lily Tillery, 16, a junior at Redwood High, won the title of All-American Cowgirl at the California High School Rodeo Assocation State Finals in Bishop this month.

Lily, 16, took first in pole bending -- a timed event in which the rider weaves around six poles in a line -- and second in girls cutting -- removing a cow from herd -- to win the title.

She won two saddles and a horse trailer and will compete in the National High School Finals Rodeo next month in Rock Springs, Wyo., involving 1,500 contestants.

Between 40 and 50 California high school rodeo riders made the cut for the national finals, including Lefty Holman of Visalia and Bodie Dodds of Clovis.

Lily has been riding horses since second grade.

It's a family affair. Her grandmother Sally Marvel Freeman trains horses in Reedley, and her cousin Billie Holman twice won All-Around Cowgirl.

APPOINTMENT: Anne Bernardo of Visalia has been reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Library Services Board, which she first served on in 2003 and then left in 2006.

Bernardo is employed as the director of the Tulare County Public Law Library.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of Tulare and Kings counties for The Bee. His column runs Sunday. He can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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