Upper West Side condo board bans smoking

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The board of the Upper West Side’s Ariel West condominium has voted overwhelmingly to ban smoking inside the building because, as board president Gideon Stein put it, “people do not have a constitutional right to smoke.” According to the New York Times, it’s among the more intense smoking bans ever for a residential building in the city, because even smoker residents already living in the building won’t be grandfathered in under the new rules. Last year, several rental buildings introduced bans but allowed current tenants to continue to smoke in their apartments. At Ariel West, the 32-story Extell Development tower at Broadway and 99th Street, violators of the smoking ban will now face a $150 fine, with each successive violation fee increasing by $150. The building — whose demographic is mainly families with young children — doesn’t intend to send out smoking police to crack down on residents’ habits; the board will only respond to complaints to enforce the rule. While some opponents worried that prohibiting cigarettes during a sluggish real estate market would force some homeowners who smoke to sell at a loss, Lisa Lippman, a senior vice president at Brown Harris Stevens who lives in the building said most people have already been asked by their family members not to smoke inside their apartments, so the ban is more of a technicality and is unlikely to cause anyone to move out. [NYT]