Smoke Free Housing in California -

Exercise That Smoke Away

Hi all! Sorry, I haven’t written in a while, I was actually quite busy with work this period. One way to let off steam after working is exercising. I have already written before that I have a love for the great outdoors. So my friends and I arranged a nice little yoga session in nature last Saturday. Maybe yoga is dull for some people, but I guarantee it is a great way to deal with work stress.

In fact, there are studies that show that yoga decreases the levels of cortisol, basically the stress hormone. And needless to say, yoga also comes with a bunch of other health benefits, it reduces anxiety levels, it can reduce inflammation, improve heart health, it can help with chronic pain, depression, improve sleep quality, and life quality in general and yes, it improves breathing as well – and you know just how important breathing is for asthma sufferers like me!

The way this works is that most yoga incorporates breathing exercises too, called yogic breathing or pranayama. This yogic breathing then increases your vital capacity, basically the maximum amount of air that people expel from their lungs after maximum inhalation. And improved vital capacity is especially important for those with lung disease and asthma!

Anyway, one thing I didn’t associate yoga with is using it as a technique to quit smoking. My friend Karen has never been a fan of the outdoors, and much less exercise. So I was surprised when she decided to join us on Saturday. The reason, as she explained, is that recently she experienced a relapse, and started smoking again. Those of you who are smokers know all too well that it can take several trials before you finally kick that nasty habit of smoking.

Anyway, Karen explained to me that apparently yoga is praised to be very useful if you decide to quit smoking or experience a relapse as she did. The logic behind it is simple actually – yoga helps you with those strong nicotine cravings because it calms down the mind and reduces stress and anxiety as I mentioned before. While any yoga exercise can be helpful when quitting cigarettes, there are some yoga exercises that are especially helpful here, including anulom vilom (alternate nostril breathing), the so-called camel pose, Sukhasana (also known as the Easy pose), etc. Bottom line, thanks to yoga exercise, Karen is again smoke-free for weeks now, sweet! So if you’re looking for a natural way to quit smoking, you might want to consider adding a few yoga stretches to your daily routine.

After our outdoor yoga session, I felt great, but I was sooo sweaty! So rushed home to take a shower with my new solar powered system. Ah yes, I decided to go solar and I am loving it! For one thing, I have more space now, and this will definitely have benefits for the environment and my budget as well. But then again, solar is not for everyone, I guess I’m lucky to live in a place where there are enough warm days for both my solar heater and my outdoor exercise.

Weekend Warrior!

My friends and family hear me say quite often “come along for the ride.” The invitation is open to anyone who likes adventure. Most people don’t get nearly enough, so if they are lucky like me they can become “weekend warriors.” You just have to make time and set your mind to hitting road with that favorite road bike. I just purchased a new one and I want to get my money’s worth out of it. So it is going into use this very next weekend. It is a great bike, sure to provide top-tier performance, safety, and comfort. Good design and ergonomics was tops on my list in making a selection. All in all, price is no object.

What is a typical road journey for me? It starts in the early morning when the air is fresh and clear. The bike is readied in less than a half an hour, and I pack a lunch and some snacks. When I am assured that everything is in working order, I set off for my favorite trails. I like a variety of rough and tumble and flat and easily where I let it go. While there is excitement in the challenge and I have a love of the great outdoors, riding is also a great way to stay fit. It is as the top of my list of good workouts followed by the gym ellipse, yoga, jogging, and boating. I find that I enjoy it alone or accompanied by thrill-seeking friends. I don’t want to be with any hangers back. I want to keep up the action and all parties must be on board.

I like to maintain my own bike after a good session on the trails and have learned to service it properly. This way you have the convenience of cleaning and oiling it up in the convenience of your home garage. No toting it to the cyclery and waiting for it to return. It is become a more frequent obsession so it takes more and more care. That is part and parcel of the sport of course. It is like looking after a rifle if you are a hunter or staining the wood areas of your boat if you are a sailor. If you ski, you have to use wax, if you play basketball, you need to put air in the ball occasionally. If you swim, you see to it that your goggles don’t leak. No hiker worth his or her salt would forget to waterproof the boots. Every pastime has its adjunct activity. I love learning more about road bikes from On Road and Mountain Magazine and how to change out parts and upgrade the basics. This way I will have a trendy bike year after year.

When you ride with me, you are transformed, as I am, into a spirited soul. You go like the wind and let the elements sweep through your hair. You feel all the strength of your being congregate with your body motion, producing a euphoric thrill.

Another Tool in the Asthma Toolbox

Scores of people have asthma which often requires multiple medications. It can be a debilitating disease that requires constant vigilance. You can breathe easy if you treat the condition appropriately. Most people get it at a very young age and go through phases to control it and make sure it doesn’t grow worse. There are many remedies, even some holistic, but there is also another tool in the asthma toolbox: a pulse oximeter. It is affordable and accurate so why not add it to your arsenal if you suffer from asthma as I do. Technology just keeps getting better in all realms of medical life. Beyond that athletes and pilots use them to obtain quick and accurate oxygen saturation readings.

I use a peak flow meter as a rule, and have for a long time, but have added this new device to keep better tabs on my oxygen levels, particularly after a particularly bad asthma attack. I want to know what is going on at all times, what causes it, and what cures I can undertake. I am responsible for my own health. I came to that conclusion as a child. If you haven’t heard of a pulse oximeter, here’s the news. It is a lightweight, portable device used for measuring both pulse rate and SpO2 level. It isn’t rocket science. You simply place your finger inside the antimicrobial vinyl sensor and have these vital measurements instantly displayed on a vibrant LED screen. It features a battery-saving automatic power off function and an irregular heartbeat alarm notification. The batteries give you thirty hours of continuous monitoring so you never have to worry about them dying out.

This mini mechanical marvel works well once you figure out how to use it. Instructions are very limited on how to change settings so you have to pay attention. You have to hold down the single button to access the menu and then click to go through the various menu items. Once the item is selected, you hold down the button to change the setting. You will have to go through the full range of settings to get to the value you want. I hope this complication will not deter people from using it. It hasn’t bothered me.

A possible problem: if you push your finger all the way in, as instructed, the sensors may not be aligned with your finger nail. I look at the whitish pad on the bottom and place my finger nail above that. I have had my oxygen check by a lot of oximeters in the past two months, and I push my finger in to the stop on all of them except this one. Does that make it better?

Nonetheless, I have checked the unit against a very expensive unit in my doctor’s office and get virtually the same readings. So what more do I need to know. I recommend this item if you want an accurate reading and want something new in your arsenal of asthma tools.

Safe Cooling and Heating Options

As an asthma sufferer, I have to be more careful than most about air quality. Unfortunately, there are many gorgeous days outside where the air quality is still terrible and I have to keep my windows closed and remain indoors. One thing that I find particularly troubling is when I need to use my hvac unit. Our condo uses forced air, and I can change the air filter in my unit every day if I want to, but it isn’t going to clean all the ductwork that the air travels to before it gets to my filter. Have you ever seen pictures of what air ducts look like inside? I have. It’s gross. As the head of the HOA, I can spend dues money to get the vents cleaned professionally on a semi-regular basis but there isn’t much else I can do. I can’t put in window units in the summer because they are against the homeowner’s regulations (putting in window units compromises the safety and security of residents), and can only be used if the central unit that services your condo is broken, and then only until it is repaired. Maintenance usually comes and puts the units in, so they can be sure that they’ll come out as soon as the necessary repairs are made. I have ceiling fans in my unit that I can dust regularly, and I try to use those in place of the a/c whenever possible. It’s also true what they say about having indoor plants that can help with the air quality. I keep some ferns in my condo because they do not flower, which means they don’t trigger my allergy symptoms and make my asthma worse.

I have a little more flexibility in the winter. I switch my fans so that they rotate in the opposite direction, forcing warm air down from the ceiling. I also installed electric baseboard heaters in my bedroom and living room. These electric units are better as far as energy efficiency goes: I only run the units when I am in those rooms so that I am not unnecessarily heating spaces I am not using. I understand that my methods may not be practical for people in colder climates, but I guess that’s an advantage to living in California. Another benefit to using an electric heat source is that I’m not using the oil-burning furnace for as much heat. That means less pollution, which is good for asthma sufferers like me. And, as I mentioned before, if I am not using the furnace for heat, I’m not using forced air. That means no dusty air ducts negatively affecting my air quality!

I love my baseboard heaters. They were not overly complicated to install, which was fantastic for me as I am not a professional by any means. They have their own thermostats and timers so that they can go on and off without me having to touch them. They heat the two rooms fairly quickly and maintain them at a comfortable temperature effortlessly. They have non-heating surfaces and automatic shutoff features to make them safe to use. I have had them for a couple of years now and these baseboard heaters have never let me down.

I highly recommend that other asthma sufferers look into healthier heating and cooling options as part of their regimine to monitor and treat their asthma.

Filters are Kind of My Thing

Asthma has made me a bit obsessed about clean spa and hot tub filters. I clean the filter in the hot tub at his condo complex all the time. The tenants notice and appreciate the gesture. You can’t be too cautious. After all, the public is involved; it is more than my health at stake. You would want to take extra care with any communal facility.

There are different products made specifically to clean hot tub filters. You can purchase in quart bottles a concentrated overnight formula that deep cleans filter to remove dirt, oil, grease and scale with minimum effort. A three-month cleaning removes grids or cartridges from filters. Here’s what you do. In a clean, plastic pail, bucket or trash can that contains 8 gallons of water, add contents of the Filter Clean. (This is enough solution to clean 110 square feet of filter area.) Place cartridge or grids upright in solution. Soak for a minimum of 3 hours. For maximum effectiveness, soak overnight. Remove filter from solution. Hose off filter with high pressure nozzle and replace. By the way, it is compatible with chlorine, bromine and biguanide sanitizers.

There are other spa/hot tub cleaning accessories. Simply attach a filter spray nozzle to your hose and watch how easily your filter is cleaned. Take it from me, I use it. The special nozzle is designed specifically to clean spa filters. It projects a flat, fan like spray for deep cleaning action, prolonging the life and effectiveness of filters so I am told.

Another good bet is a mineral sanitizer like Nature2 Spa which uses mineral-bed technology to destroy bacteria. Its revolutionary process significantly improves the look, feel and smell of spa water by dramatically reducing chlorine and bromine requirements. If used with MPS, the most recommended spa oxidant, it becomes a complete spa sanitizing system – the only non-chlorine spa sanitizing option available. And managing your spa is easier than ever; Nature2 Spa slips into your spa filter and lasts up to four months. It works with any existing filtration system and all spa flow rates so you get hassle-free maintenance. It leaves water softer and clearer. It is available for spas up to 500 gallons.

I have provided some basic instructions here, not that any of you will be cleaning filters any time soon. You may have a maintenance person for your own hot tub. If you live in a complex, you should assume that it will be done. Since it is my job. I want those who have been lax to see the products they need and how easy it can be to be compliant with hot tub recommendations. Check with your pool supply company to discuss chemicals as well as they are not all desirable. There are different options that are healthier and less harsh to the skin. Meanwhile, asthma sufferers should know that vigilance is their best form of protection when they are at risk.

Little Improvements

I can really get into my job sometimes, making it more fun than chore. When you deal with people, you naturally have a lot of interaction. It goes with the territory. When it is a condo community, it entails all types from different backgrounds, professions, and of varying ages. We have a mixture to be sure. You want to keep everyone happy as hard as that might be at times since everyone has an opinion. This one wants a new stair covering; that one wants new pool tile. This one wants camouflage trees at the edge of the property; that one wants more rose bushes to prune. It is all about budgets and how much money to appropriate year by year, but in the long run people where I work are pretty content.

I care about the condo community and making everything around the property work. I have to deal with landscaping and sprinkling systems, common spaces, and electrical problems. I have been known to plant a few beds of flowers, install new lighting, and repair garden chairs. I have had to research gym equipment and how much pool chlorine to buy. Sometimes you have to get pretty technical. For example, recently I put a dehumidifier with a pump in the clubhouse to help draw excess moisture from the air. It can get pretty muggy for folks in the environs and they welcome the addition. Come summer in particular, they really appreciate it. Those with asthma want to kiss my feet! I didn’t realize the extent of the problem. I put it in to help with mold and mildew, but the appliance can do so much more.

But why a pump you ask? What’s so special? Mindful of maintenance chores, I wanted a machine that would do its job without requiring excessive water tank changes. With a built-in condensate pump, you don’t need one. Okay, you pay more, but it is well worth it for sheer convenience. No one wants to empty tanks or buckets in their spare time. Someone has to do chores.

The pump operates off of an existing water system such as a furnace, washing machine outlet pipe, sink, or other type of drain. They are a boon particularly for the elderly as they are less messy and more practical. You want what the dehumidifier has to offer, but not at the price of the excessive labor needed to maintain it. Since we rotate responsibility at the clubhouse, looking after the dehumidifier inevitably falls in everyone’s lap.

The dehumidifier was one of my most popular little improvements. I have many, but they are not all on the same par. As for this wonder machine, no one objected and everyone got on board. The condo community did have to chip in to pay for it but there were no complaints. It was voted a definite “yes” unanimously. Choosing the right model was part of the reason I garnered so much support. Not having a bucket was genius.

Improving Curb Appeal

The HOA took a vote recently and decided to have the exterior of our buildings repainted. Although I can’t take credit for the idea itself, I thought this was an excellent choice. There are a couple units up for sale and they honestly have been for awhile. It was time to do something to increase their desirability. The owners had done their part, so now it was time for the HOA to step up. If the whole community gets painted at the same time, our development will look more appealing. The theory is that a fresh coat of paint might attract potential buyers, and maybe then we won’t have to worry about these empty condos anymore. One can only hope, right? I couldn’t really see a downside, either. If this ploy to attract buyers didn’t work, we still have a freshly painted neighborhood. I don’t see how that’s a loss, especially since it probably needed to be done anyway. I honestly couldn’t remember if the buildings were supposed to be white or light grey, and I don’t think many of the other HOA members really remembered, either. So it was definitely time.

I did the hiring through a bid system and found a reputable local company willing to do it for a decent rate. The company told me they had another job ahead of ours and that they’d contact me when they were ready to start. I hadn’t gotten a call for about two weeks, and it went to the back of my mind. Then I heard the sound of some loud equipment starting up one morning on my way out for a walk. I looked over and there was the painting crew. I asked them what the machine was and they told me that they use an air compressor for painting exteriors. They can run paint sprayers directly from the compressor and it helps them get the job done faster. They try to use electric sprayers indoors, as they make less noise and then you don’t have gas or oil-lubricated compressors running indoors—with me and my asthma, I sure appreciated hearing that.

Armed with this new information, I headed off for my walk. It took me about an hour and when I went past the paint crew again, I saw that they had the corner condo already done and were working on the place next door. I couldn’t believe it! And the color—so white! The condo owner’s pink tulips out front looked amazing up against the crisp exterior paint job. Now THAT is some serious curb appeal!

It only took them a couple of days to get the whole complex painted, and came in a day under their estimate. Wow, don’t I look like a genius for hiring them now! I also heard that at least one of the units has had several showing since the painting and the other one might be going under contract as early as next week. So it looks like our plan worked! I really think that doing something like this showed potential buyers that we are invested in our little community here.

Road Warrior

Hey all, Liam here again with a special “leap day” post for you on my blog. A couple of weeks ago, the low tire pressure light of my car’s dashboard was flashing. I mentioned it to my neighbor, Gary, who also happens to be a mechanic, since he was outside at the time too. He told me he had an air compressor I could borrow to fill it. It sounded better than driving to a gas station that had an air pump, so I readily agreed. He went to fetch it out of the back of his truck, then brought it over to my car and we plugged it in to the car outlet. It didn’t take very long before my tire was back to normal. It was a big relief, because I have a Cadillac and for some reason, this model does not come with a spare. If I get a flat, I need to call for roadside assistance or patch it myself!

With this in the back of my brain, though, I started to get a little paranoid. What if there’s a tiny hole in the tire and this happens again, but this time I’m out on the road somewhere and not near a gas station – or for that matter, Gary? Maybe I needed one of these things myself, even if only for peace of mind. I don’t want to be out on the side of the road breathing in gasoline fumes, exacerbating my asthma, while I wait for somebody to come by and help me. I decided to start looking online and find a good compressor to keep in my car.

There were a few things that I knew I wanted: it had to have a tire adaptor, a hose long enough to reach all four tires easily, an easy-to-read gauge, auto-shutoff, and I didn’t want one so big that it took up the whole trunk. I didn’t want to pay a lot for it, either. I also knew that I wanted a small 12 volt compressor model like my neighbor’s. I liked the fact that Gary’s ran off a car battery. I didn’t want to have to worry about charging it or having to plug it in, as that seemed to defeat the “emergency” part of keeping this thing around. It seemed like a tall order but it wasn’t really. Turns out after reading a bunch of reviews online, I am not the only person that was looking for those exact specifications. Luckily there were some detailed descriptions, and I was able to find the best 12v compressor for me. It does everything I was looking for. The pressure gauge glows in the dark! It even came with an adapter for bicycle tires. Bonus! I ordered it online, along with a tire patch kit, and it came in just a few days.

Everything is safely loaded in the back of my car, after I did a quick run through of the instructions so I am comfortable operating it. Just like I never go anywhere without my rescue inhaler because you never know when something is going to happen, I will always be prepared for a flat tire now!

Upgrades for Your Condo: wine fridge

When you rent a unit in a larger building, you get the amenities provided, and the rest is up to you. The basics are always there for the most part – stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and microwaves – but you always wish there was more. You are on your own in the extras department, and frankly, each and every one of us would choose something different.

Some people, if given the option, would love a central vacuum system. Others would crave a two-sink bathroom or a built-in toaster oven. Beyond the necessities of household life are icemakers, wine fridges, and ceiling fans. We know we pay a big HOA fee, so let’s see some of it in action!

As a person with asthma, I think about breathing all of the time. Every intake is the source of life. I don’t want to equate this vital physiological process with something as mundane as wine, but frankly, I am going to. Sitting here sipping a nice full glass of cabernet, it comes to my mind that this stuff has to breathe as well. Real fans of the grape will decant their favorite year and let it sit awhile. Or they can use a wine aerator, a very handy little device that turns ordinary into excellent as quickly as it can pour out.

But before all this breathing goes on, you have to keep your wine at the perfect temperature. Here’s where the best wine refrigerator comes in. Aficionados will laugh if you say you keep your reds and whites both in the same kitchen refrigerator. Bah! They would be the first to upgrade their condos with a dual control cooler—under counter or free-standing—take your pick. They know how important it is to have just the right degree of chill before serving. I am learning this fast.

Yes, I am thinking of one of these units myself to house the many offerings I receive from friends and family. A bottle, imported or domestic, is a great host gift. If you entertain, you will get them in bulk. Why not put them in a place where they can age gracefully and come out better than before. Once you have one, you will wonder how you used to get by.

Wine fridges don’t have to be enormous. They come in compact condo sizes, referred to as “slim.” They have glass fronts so you can see what’s inside and they are stainless steel beauties that add to the décor. This is, in fact, what I would choose. It’s enough to free the refrigerator and make room for other nutritional items. I like the idea of having a collection of sorts, even if only on a modest scale.

A wine cooler can run a couple of hundred dollars, even for the diminutive model. It pays to read the reviews and see what’s out there and what is preferred. While a dual zone is most desirable since reds and whites should be treated differently, this feature is most likely in larger units. But you can find whatever you want and need if you do the legwork. As for me, I want sleek and stylish to go with my décor.

You Can Quit Smoking, Too

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Many smokers want to quit. Their habit is expensive. They are worried about the people around them, and they are well aware of the dangers associated with cigarette smoking. However, plenty of them are terrified about the possibilities involved with quitting, knowing that it is very difficult to accomplish indeed. These people should know that quitting is easier than ever before today, and that they will have the support of all of society behind them if they decide to quit now.

There was a stigma against quitting smoking when I was growing up. Today, smokers carry the stigma. There were no hotlines for people quitting smoking, no nicotine patches, and no brands of nicotine gum when I was growing up either. Today, smokers have access to all of the above.

You will improve your health when you quit smoking. You will improve the health of others by helping to create a smoke-free culture. A lot of the damage that you have done to your body is partly reversible if you quit smoking now. Quitting will be difficult at first, but countless people have done so successfully, and you can do the same. Most people don’t gain more than ten pounds after quitting smoking, which will have a negligible effect on your health, and may even be beneficial for some smokers. Everyone around you deserves to breathe free, and so do you.

The Rise of The Nonsmoking Culture

When I was growing up, smoking was still common. You still had to have ashtrays around for the guests even if your parents didn’t smoke and you wouldn’t smoke if someone paid you to do it. Characters smoked in movies all the time, and they weren’t just the villains. You were considered cool if you smoked, and smokers were still perceived as more fun than nonsmokers.

To this day, I’m convinced that I would never have gotten asthma if I had been born in this generation. Children who grow up in smoking households are more likely to grow up with asthma, especially if everyone around them will typically smoke around them. Generation Y still smokes, but they at least statistically tend to be more discrete about it than the previous generations were. They know that the culture at large frowns upon such behavior.

I can remember when the anti-smoking movement really started to gain strength. It felt like by the 1990’s, you couldn’t turn on the television without hearing about all of the reasons why it was important not to smoke and all of the problems that smokers would develop later in life. I do remember seeing a PSA about how children who grew up in households full of smokers were more likely to develop asthma, which is now received wisdom. I just wish that it had been received a lot sooner.

I can’t get over the fact that in the 1950’s, around fifty percent of people smoked. That a solid plurality of people could possibly consume toxins at that level is still amazing to me. The fact that little kids smoked all the time and then desperately tried to quit during the 1990’s illustrates an interesting generational progression in a group of people whose lives were so heavily shaped by smoking.

It is my every hope that the generation of people who are still children now will never have to grow up this way. They will always live in a culture where smoking is still uncommon and where the mainstream idea is that smoking is a dangerous habit that should not be practiced publicly. Instituting designated smoking areas for people who have this addiction is just another part of the overall cultural shift.

What individuals do does affect the people around them. Some habits really are just your business and no one else’s. If you eat sugar, you are not by any means forcing me to eat sugar, and it is your health and your body. If you smoke in my area, you are effectively asking me to smoke as well. I’m going to be forced to inhale your cigarette smoke all the time, and I won’t get the filters that you will receive at the ends of your cigarettes. You may have decided to take this sort of risk, but I did not.

The public smoking bans are reflective of a certain civic-minded behavior. People who live in condominium complexes have to be more mindful of the other people in those complexes, and they are simply not going to have the privacy of the people who own their own homes. If you live in a condo, you have to make sure that you monitor your noise levels in a way that would not be applicable if you owned your own house, for instance.

Secondhand Smoke Really Is Dangerous

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Even after decades of research, some people are still skeptical about whether or no secondhand smoke can really hurt anyone. The idea that smoking itself is bad is less controversial. It has finally become part of the received wisdom that people earn when they are very young. However, many people, particularly smokers, still scoff at the idea that people in the immediate vicinity are going to be harmed by their habit.

It makes sense that smokers will feel this way. Smoking is a very difficult addiction to break, and smokers don’t want to feel that they’re hurting people with their habit in the meantime. Smokers also do not want to feel that there is any sort of moral dimension to what they are doing, other than an outdated puritanical variety of morality. I sympathize with the people who are struggling with this debilitating disease, but there is no getting around the fact that smokers are hurting people when they smoke around them. There is also no such thing as being truly alone in this world and throughout the day, so every cigarette has a price for another person.

When people have asthma and you smoke around them, you risk triggering one of their asthma attacks. This has happened to me on multiple occasions. While it is true that smoking around someone a few times is not going to give them asthma, which is a developmental disease, it is going to be damaging to the people who are already suffering from this terrible condition. Naturally, smoking around children throughout their entire childhoods could very well give them debilitating asthma, and the risk increases with every single cigarette.

Smoking around people can give them respiratory infections. Some people have the immune systems to cope with these sorts of infections. Other people are going to struggle with pneumonia and other respiratory infections, especially older people who have a difficult time fighting off even the most commonplace of illnesses. In any diverse community, you are going to run into people who have immune systems of various strengths. In a condominium complex, you will run into plenty of people who are retired, meaning they are going to be the sort of elderly people who may have compromised immune systems. You will probably also run into people who have disabilities, including asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Secondhand smoke literally causes 34,000 deaths from heart disease per year alone. While the smokers themselves are much more likely to die from heart disease, they are sharing that risk with other people when they smoke around them. Around 7,300 cases of lung cancer every year are caused by secondhand smoke. People who have a family history of these sorts of ailments will be much more likely to be triggered by environmental factors in the immediate environment, and secondhand smoke has always been a potent environmental factor.

Plenty of people with allergies will be more likely to be triggered by secondhand smoke as well, even if they are not specifically allergic to anything within the secondhand smoke on a chemical level. Some environmental stimulants can more or less accomplish the exact same thing. People with allergies will often have respiratory problems and clogged sinuses, and secondhand smoke can aggravate all related conditions.

Smokers don’t mean to hurt other people. They do what they do because they are in the grip of a difficult condition. Many smokers are themselves victims of callous corporations who were perfectly fine with selling addictive poison to other people in order to turn a profit. An addiction to cigarettes should, in fact, be regarded as a disability in its own right, and it is certainly a problem that begets other disabilities. However, disabled people need to be able to form a veritable community in which we respect the rights and needs of other disabled people. Smokers need to be as responsible with their habit as they possibly can be, while keeping the effects of their habit from other people.

Restricting Smoking is Better for Everyone

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When a condominium complex catches on fire, dozens of families can lose their homes all at once. Everything that they have worked for and everything that they own can be gone in an instant. In some cases, the fire will not spread to other households because the fire department will arrive in time, and they will be able to slow down the spread of the flames. In other cases, a fire can absolutely devastate an apartment complex, leaving hundreds of people homeless and destroying their possessions.

One of the most common causes of condominium fires is a stray cigarette. People who smoke are starting miniature fires each and every day. They might be responsible with some of these fires, but starting that many fires all day and every day is just going to raise the odds that one of them is going to get out of control. The fact that smokers do cause so many fire-related accidents should be of no surprise to anyone.

When you reserve designated smoking areas, you will make these fires that much less likely to happen. The potential fires that might start in these designated smoking areas will probably not reach the condos themselves, assuming that the designated smoking areas are positioned properly. Smokers will be able to practice their habit much more safely.

Smokers will also be more likely to dispose of the tobacco products properly if they have to have designated smoking areas. People have to make a minor or a major trip in order to get there, and they will tend to make a show of it. They won’t casually toss away cigarettes under those circumstances. Smoking will not be something that they do casually when they actually have to set aside time and energy in order to get it done.

Smokers who are able to smoke casually will tend to abuse that privilege. This trend may not apply to all smokers, but it applies to enough of them that it is worthy of addressing and acknowledging. They will tend to litter and toss around the remains of their cigarettes, which has a huge effect on the local landscaping. People who live in condos will often have to deal with piles of cigarette butts outside. Cigarette butts are also toxic, leaching pollution into the soil and potentially serving as something for wildlife and pets to eat. Smokers who have their designated smoking areas complete with ashtrays will be less likely to treat the world like it is just another ashtray for them to use at their leisure.

Ultimately, of course, smokers need to be separated from the other people in buildings when they are smoking because of the effect that their habit has on the local air quality. The smoke that they exhale doesn’t just fade away, even though it looks that way. The people living on the second and third levels of the condo buildings are going to be inhaling the toxins all the while, and the smell makes it perfectly obvious what it is that they are inhaling at that time.

Smokers are potentially harming the people who have medical conditions that are easily aggravated by cigarette smoke, and there are plenty of people like that. They are exposing healthy people to dangerous toxins. Since smokers will typically take in a pack of cigarettes a day or more, they certainly aren’t exposing people to a negligible quantity of cigarettes, either. The air around smokers is literally a hundred times as toxic as the air around anyone who isn’t smoking, and all of those toxins are diffusing into the lungs of anyone in the vicinity when the smokers are actually indulging in their habit. This simply has to be the sort of thing that they will only do elsewhere.

Having that level of air pollution in a heavily populated area is not reasonable, and it is not reasonable for smokers to expect that they can simply carry out their habit in front of their condos or on the balcony of their condos just because it is more convenient than going to a designated smoking area.

The Rise of The Nonsmoking Culture

When I was growing up, smoking was still common. You still had to have ashtrays around for the guests even if your parents didn’t smoke and you wouldn’t smoke if someone paid you to do it. Characters smoked in movies all the time, and they weren’t just the villains. You were considered cool if you smoked, and smokers were still perceived as more fun than nonsmokers.

To this day, I’m convinced that I would never have gotten asthma if I had been born in this generation. Children who grow up in smoking households are more likely to grow up with asthma, especially if everyone around them will typically smoke around them. Generation Y still smokes, but they at least statistically tend to be more discrete about it than the previous generations were. They know that the culture at large frowns upon such behavior.

I can remember when the anti-smoking movement really started to gain strength. It felt like by the 1990’s, you couldn’t turn on the television without hearing about all of the reasons why it was important not to smoke and all of the problems that smokers would develop later in life. I do remember seeing a PSA about how children who grew up in households full of smokers were more likely to develop asthma, which is now received wisdom. I just wish that it had been received a lot sooner.

I can’t get over the fact that in the 1950’s, around fifty percent of people smoked. That a solid plurality of people could possibly consume toxins at that level is still amazing to me. The fact that little kids smoked all the time and then desperately tried to quit during the 1990’s illustrates an interesting generational progression in a group of people whose lives were so heavily shaped by smoking.

It is my every hope that the generation of people who are still children now will never have to grow up this way. They will always live in a culture where smoking is still uncommon and where the mainstream idea is that smoking is a dangerous habit that should not be practiced publicly. Instituting designated smoking areas for people who have this addiction is just another part of the overall cultural shift.

What individuals do does affect the people around them. Some habits really are just your business and no one else’s. If you eat sugar, you are not by any means forcing me to eat sugar, and it is your health and your body. If you smoke in my area, you are effectively asking me to smoke as well. I’m going to be forced to inhale your cigarette smoke all the time, and I won’t get the filters that you will receive at the ends of your cigarettes. You may have decided to take this sort of risk, but I did not.

The public smoking bans are reflective of a certain civic-minded behavior. People who live in condominium complexes have to be more mindful of the other people in those complexes, and they are simply not going to have the privacy of the people who own their own homes. If you live in a condo, you have to make sure that you monitor your noise levels in a way that would not be applicable if you owned your own house, for instance.