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A town in California is proposing to ban smoking outside, even for residents lighting up on their own property.

Smoking is already banned indoors in public places in most of the country, and in California it is illegal to smoke in parks and playgrounds too.

The town of Rocklin, near Sacramento, could take the draconian regulations further by extending them to private property as well.

The unusual legislation was prompted by a local family annoyed with their neighbour smoking outside and causing smoke to waft near their house.

They claimed their children's health had been jeopardised by second-hand smoke, according to CBS 13.

However, while cigarettes may be considered a dirty habit, some people say that a ban could interfere with constitutional property rights.

And other worry that the proposal could actually cause health problems, with smokers forced to light up within the confines of their home - particularly damaging for those with young children.

But supporters of the plan say a blanket ban is the only way to keep cigarette smoke away from non-smokers.

Rocklin resident Ryan Malonson said he doubted the measure would pass, describing the proposal as 'unacceptable'.

But town officials insist they are actively considering the idea of a ban.

While smoking used to be universally common and socially acceptable throughout the U.S., it has become increasingly controversial over the years.

There are now very few public places where it is legal to smoke, and to crack down on lighting up on private property would be extremely restricting.