Naomi Baker and (then) three-month-old daughter Faith. Langley Advance Times file photo

Should smoking be banned in condos? This B.C. mom and 17,000 others say yes

Naomi Baker submitted the petition to legislature and met with the B.C.’s Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

Nine months after she started a petition to ban smoking in multi-unit residential buildings, Langley’s Naomi Baker presented the signatures to provincial legislature.

On Thursday, April 4, Baker and her husband were accompanied by Langley MLA Mary Polak to deliver the petition and meet with Housing Minister Selina Robinson in Victoria.

READ MORE: Langley mom wants smoking ban in multi-unit dwellings

“It felt great, but I know it’s not over,” Baker said.

While her online petition has more than 15,000 signatures, Baker explained the electronic signatures on change.org are not sufficient for legislature.

With that in mind, Baker launched a paper signature petition, and was able to collect 2,200 signatures to present to legislature.

“I hoped for a good response, but it exceeded what we were expecting to receive. [At legislature] we were able to express a lot of the different scenarios people are in and the challenges they have. It was a positive meeting,” Baker explained.

Baker said ideally she’d like smoking banned in all multi-unit residential buildings including rental and subsidized units.

She was successful in getting smoking banned in her own strata building in March, after three-quarters of voters chose to ban smoking.

“It’s been substantially different since the rule was put in place. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been substantially reduced,” added Baker.

The petition to ban smoking came after the birth of her ten-month old daughter, Faith.

She and her husband said they have been dealing with second-hand smoke coming into their unit through the walls and fixtures ever since they bought their condo in Langley City in 2016.

Her biggest concern with second-hand smoke is health safety.

“Nobody has the right to poison someone else. We don’t have the right in Canada to poison other people. It’s not tolerated in liquid form, it’s not tolerated in solid form, but for a long period of time, this gas version has been tolerated.”

Baker added she’s also concerned about renters, because she explained if a rental property decides to go smoke-free, existing tenants who smoke are ‘grandfathered,’ in.

In the very least, Baker hopes legislation will change to make the default status of buildings non-smoking, with the opportunity for tenants to vote on whether they want a smoke-free building or not.

READ MORE: Langley campaign to ban smoking in multi-unit residential buildings bound for legislature

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