San Francisco nixes smoking ban inside apartments

A man takes a vaping break from his job at a smoke shop in San Francisco.
Jacky Chan takes a vaping break from his job at a smoke shop in San Francisco.
(Samantha Maldonado / Associated Press)

An ordinance to ban cigarette smoking in San Francisco apartments failed to get a second vote from supervisors Tuesday, meaning that the proposal is dead for now.

Supervisors had approved the measure last week, saying that non-smoking residents living in cramped apartment buildings should be free from secondhand smoke. The measure carved out an exemption for marijuana, which cannot be smoked in public spaces.

The legislation required two separate votes, and Tuesday’s yes vote had been considered a given.


But Supervisor Aaron Peskin on Tuesday requested that the proposal be sent back to committee, saying he had heard from longtime, low-income tenants worried about the ban’s impact. The request passed 6-5.

Last week, supervisors voted 10-1 to approve the ban, with Supervisor Dean Preston casting the sole vote against. He said the proposal would most likely have a negative impact on long-term tenants who signed leases before landlords began banning indoor smoking.

Those against the ban argued that it infringed on their rights inside their homes.

Two of the proposal’s chief supporters, Norman Yee and Sandra Lee Fewer, are not returning to the Board of Supervisors next year.