Smoked Out By the Neighbors


The feud between residents who smoke and those who don’t is certainly not breaking news. It ranks among one of the top disputes between people who live in the same building, right up there with pets and noise. Smoke seeping in your apartment can be a serious problem, especially if you have a condition like asthma, but it can also be a way of life or a giant nuisance.

I personally stand on the non-smoking side of this battle front (my sincere apologies to the smokers who I cannot agree with on this matter). I’m not against smoking because by all means, do what you want to do, but if you live in an apartment be conscientious of your neighbors. My neighbors upstairs smoke and subsequently have all manner of chronic respiratory problems, which they very audibly exhibit signs of on a daily basis. I had high hopes for the new neighbors who just moved in across the hall, but in the first two days of living there they have managed to permeate the hallway and my apartment with the aroma of a Grateful Dead concert circa 1967. They even accomplished setting off the smoke detector from it. Now I know I sound a little bit bitter, but isn’t it my right as a renter to decline having to inhale someone else’s charred plant matter floating around in the air?

The solution is potentially easy if your building does not allow smoking. The landlord can be contacted and notified of the smoking problem, which hopefully he or she will take action over. However, if you live in a building which allows smoking you may have to resort to arming yourself against the problem. Air purifiers and blocking the sources of incoming smoke are the most common solutions to the problem. If you have an exhaust fan, consider running it more frequently to move smoky air out. Legal action rarely can be taken against in this case, but can in some cases if the smoke is causing bodily harm and can be documented as affecting your health.