Smoking in Units Okay … Or Not?

Smoking is an emotional subject. When someone is addicted to something legal they will naturally fight for the right to do it. It’s hard not to. Here is a recent email from a website reader (and smoker):

“Hello!  I have read your comments about smoking and agree, in general, that smoking should be banned in public areas in condo communities where it affects others.

However….in my situation….I smoke occasionally….perhaps three a day maximum….in my LIVING ROOM.  Naturally, in the warm weather, my front door and my patio doors are open.  In cooler weather, everything is closed. 

The neighbor above me constantly complains that he can smell cigarette smoke (not that he sees it, or inhales it….only that he smells it) and he went to the HOA about it.  They have now issued a ruling to all condos that no one can smoke on patios, in common areas, etc.  That is all right with me….but do they now have the right to tell me that I can’t smoke in my living room????

I can’t exist all year-round with the windows closed.  It is not possible. 

Thanks for your help,
XXXXX

P.S.  I have never complained about his 300-pound weight tramping around above my head, his frequent late night “moving furniture” episodes, his loud Karaoke nights, or his son and friends who smoke and dump their butts into my patio and front sidewalk!”

Well, first, I would like to say I am sorry about your predicament. I was a smoker once, many years ago, and wanted to protect my right to smoke  – in secret. I ignored the complaints of those around me because I was trying to do my best to “hide it” and was frustrated (with them) after my efforts like smoking outside the car while waiting to get the kids from school, etc. My kids still said “I smelled like cigarettes”. I was not a heavy smoker either, but my smoking had side effects that bothered nonsmokers. Now that I do not smoke, I get it – like sitting next to someone on an airplane who has just recently smoked and getting sick to my stomach – it’s the smell. There is no smoke involved.
 
The truth is that boards of HOAs are in a real predicament in situations like yours, caught between a rock and hard place, and so I have to weigh in in favor of smoking bans.  There are cases across the country that have allowed associations to ban smoking both inside and outside the condos, so yes, the board probably can move in that direction.
I recommend a less offensive amendment for consideration that allows smoking in units, so long as the smoke does not enter other units. If it does, its up to the smoker to take reasonable measures to prohibit the smoke from permeating the neighboring unit, and the person who is bothered to also take reasoanble means, like using air purification appliances, etc.
Smoking, the smell, and the negative health affects of second hand smoke are a nuisance. There is no two ways about it.
By the way, so is unreasonable noise (a nuisance), minus the negative health effects, unless of course the activity is so pervasive it causes one to lose sleep or suffer unusual stress. It is reasonable to report it, and unreasonable to use it as an excuse.
 

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