Smoking in apartments buildings
As a former
Certified Apartment Manager, I have been working professionally with
residents and property owners on problems involving drifting tobacco smoke
in apartments and condos all over the United States since 2001.
owners and managers are not yet aware of the unmanageable danger to
non-smoking residents in multi-unit housing when smoking and non-smoking
units are mixed in the same building. When one person smokes in an
apartment, on a balcony, patio, or in a connecting courtyard all adjoining units accumulate concentrations of the smoke
causing a poisonous air environment for everyone. What can appear to be
even a small amount can cause illnesses in non-smoking residents, such as
asthma, heart disease, even cancer that otherwise would have been avoided,
and will seriously exacerbate chronic illnesses that already exist.
Illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, lupus, AIDS, cancer,
as well as an enormous list of other ailments can result in extreme
suffering when residents are forced to live with the smoke. Infants and
toddlers are severely affected by small amounts of smoke as their lungs
and hearts and not fully developed.
is permitted in any building the smoke does not stay in the home or area
where the smoking occurs. It just takes one lit cigarette, cigar or pipe
in an apartment or outdoor area to spread the more than 4000 dangerous
burning chemicals through doorways, windows, walls, electrical and plumbing fixtures
into every adjoining unit. According to James Repace, a former physicist
with the EPA, 60% of the air in an apartment building is shared by all
residents, even with separate heating and air conditioning units.
we have found there is no filtration system that can eliminate the
chemicals that cause bodily harm. They can only mask or remove the odors.
These odors, like those put in natural gas, are a sensory sign of
impending danger to human life and should not be removed. In addition,
Ozone generators not only fail to remove the particles and chemical
pollutants, but can deaden one's sense of smell and damage the lungs.
states, “No type of air filtration is recommended for control of
secondhand tobacco smoke. Air filtration is only for professional
applications where industrial hygienists or engineers are in control and
there is a regular well-funded maintenance program, and they are NEVER
used for carcinogen control unless they are in a gas-mask.” I am sure
you are aware that more than 60 of the 4000 plus chemicals in tobacco
smoke include carcinogens (cause cancer).
of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air‑ Conditioning
Engineers, Inc.) and governing agency for all air filtration systems in the
United States, Lee W. Burgett, made the following statement in a letter he
sent to me last year, “In response to your letter of February 7, 2006, I
have consulted with some of the authors of ASHRAE’s Position Document on
Environmental Tobacco Smoke. You are correct in noting that in apartments
and condos smoke can travel from one space to another and that separate HVAC
systems may not eliminate such smoke transport. Typical practice in
many buildings doesn’t meet the tightness criterion.”
been proven that even the most efficient construction, patching, caulking,
or use of air filtration systems cannot stop the smoke with its chemicals
from drifting throughout a building. The only solution is to require that
buildings where non-smokers live include no-smoking clauses in the lease or
the country have shown that over forty percent of residents in multi-unit
housing have experienced the problem of tobacco smoke drifting into their
home from that of a neighbor, patios and/or courtyards. Thirty percent of
those residents noted they, or someone they live with, had a medical
condition that is aggravated by tobacco smoke.
companies have a "pet policy" to protect their properties. Now many have
developed "smoking policies". From a liability point of view it is legal and
advisable to provide 100% smoke-free buildings for your non-smoking
residents. In addition to health issues from the secondhand smoke,
unexpected fire dangers are a constant threat as a result of someone falling
asleep with a lit tobacco product or carelessly discarded cigarette. When
smoking becomes a problem for good non-smoking residents, they are generally
forced to move for their safety.
information on what the law says (such as "smoking is not in a protected
class"), please visit my Web site at
There are a
number of ways to begin the process of transitioning one or more buildings
to smoke-free. I can provide sample addendums to leases and rules and
regulations for your property; sample educational letters for residents on
how the transition works and how it will affect them and their guests; and I
am available to answer all questions, concerns, and issues that might come
Please let me
know if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance.
Smoke-Free Housing Consultants