Re: Smoking Policies
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 10:12:12 -0800 (PST)
Another thought: one of the key moments in our discussion was when one of
our members responded to the idea that people "shouldn't" smoke.  She said
(paraphrased): I have relatives and loved ones who are recovering from
serious, life threatening addictions to alcohol, heroin, etc.  Cigarettes
help them stay sober/straight.  It's easy for you to say that smoking is
"bad", but I would much rather have my loved one choose smoking over
returning to his heroin addiction.  I WANT them to smoke.

I think that helped take a lot of the air out of the kind of nasty
judgmentalism that was going on in the conversation.  Judging is easy when
the world is black and white, but doing so dishonors the complexity of the
human experience.

"Until I've walked a mile in your shoes...."

On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Diana Carroll <dianaecarroll [at]>wrote:

> We had a lot of discussion on this topic (a LOT!) this year.
> We did bring it back to our values, which among others include that we
> will be *welcoming*.  To tell a visitor that they must leave our community
> to smoke is not very welcoming.  Very few, if any, of our members are
> regular smokers, but plenty of visitors smoke.  We've had weddings, bar
> mitzvahs another similar celebrations to which lots of non-cohousers come.
> it seemed a bit much to ask an attendee at a wedding to walk out of our
> (several acre) site to smoke.  In fact, odds are if we asked that, they
> just wouldn't.  (How would we "ask", when someone is coming just for an
> event anyway?)
> We had a lot of discussion about how smoking isn't healthy, and why should
> we be welcoming to unhealthy behaviors.  Can't we welcome the *people*
> without welcoming their behaviors?
> But in the end, what we did is designate certain outdoor areas, those
> least likely to have passerby, as smoking areas.  Part of our criteria in
> selecting smoking spots was that those spots should make visitors who smoke
> feel welcome, not excluded.  We wanted, ideally, an area covered from the
> elements, and with seating.
> One thing to think about is: what happens when you DO get a smoking member
> moving in?  If they perceive the rules as unreasonable and stigmatizing,
> they might ignore them.
> The discussion was pretty heated, with people on all sides.
> - Diana from Mosaic Commons in MA
>  On Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM, bonnie Fergusson <fergyb2 [at] 
>>      At Swans Market Cohousing we have a policy of no smoking allowed in
>> any of our common areas which includes the common house, the walkway that
>> all our front doors face, the garage and the garden ( several peoples
>> balconies and windows face the garden).  None of our owners smoke but
>> everyone occasionally has relatives or guests who come to stay for varying
>> periods of time who smoke and they have to exit the community entirely to
>> get to an external courtyard where they can smoke.  We currently have a
>> student from Saudi Arabia staying with us who smokes and we joke about his
>> need to "take a short walk" which is code for go smoke a cigarette.  We
>> also had to train him not to just drop his cigarette butts on the ground
>> out there.
>>        I don't think it's legally possible to forbid smoking in peoples
>> own homes but it's both possible and desirable to prohibit smoking in all
>> the common areas where second hand smoke could affect the health of others
>> who have not chosen to take on that health risk.  The down side of this
>> policy is it somewhat limits the pool of potential people who will buy into
>> your community, but as smoking becomes increasingly unpopular and uncommon
>> this becomes less and less of a meaningful issue.
>>                         Bonnie Fergusson
>>                        Swans Market Cohousing
>>                        Oakland, CA
>> Sent from my iPad
>> On Nov 21, 2011, at 5:58 AM, "Sheila Hoffman" <sheila [at] 
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Great discussion about Values/Mission/Aims. As a young forming group
>> (less
>> > than 2 years old) we've done a few facilitated workshops including
>> setting
>> > our Vision & Values:
>> > We're
>> in the
>> > process of setting up some policies. Since we're still small (about 5
>> of 10
>> > households) and none of us smoke we're considering making a NO Smoking
>> > Policy. I searched the archives and found mostly very old posts and
>> they all
>> > seemed to allow some smoking. I'm wondering if anyone has a complete No
>> > Smoking Policy. Examples would be appreciated. I've drafted this one,
>> > greatly revised, based on the one I found from Mosaic Gardens posted in
>> Feb
>> > '09.
>> >
>> > In keeping with our stated value for Healthy Individuals, CHUC intends
>> to be
>> > a non-smoking environment. With this in mind, smoking is not allowed in
>> any
>> > indoor or outdoor common areas, such as the Common House, rooftop
>> gardens,
>> > or atrium under any circumstances. All residents may smoke or permit
>> smoking
>> > inside their private unit and on private balconies, but are expected to
>> > cooperatively respond to neighbors' concerns should they arise.
>> >
>> > Thank you for your thoughts.
>> > Sheila in Seattle
>> >
>> > _________________________________________________________________
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>> >
>> >
>> >
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