Smoke Affecting Your Apartment?

What do you do when you are stuck with a neighbor who smokes? Maybe you are a smoker and don’t want to damage your apartment or your relationships with other neighbors. Here are a few suggestions to help you when either you or a neighbor smokes.

Talk With Your Neighbor First

While you may have a fear of confronting your neighbor, talking with them is often the easiest solution. Make no mistake; most smokers have very strong feelings about their need to smoke. Also, depending on where you live in the country, some smokers feel frustrated with the growing increases in no-smoking ordinances. However, awareness has grown about the dangers and destructive properties of cigarette smoke and your neighbor may be more polite than you think. It’s possible you may be able to work out a compromise about where smoking takes place and when.

A solution is to buy your neighbor an air purifier and a window vent fan.† The air purifier will be more effective in his apartment than in yours, and if he is civil he probably won’t mind using it.

When Your Request to Alter Smoking Habits Falls on Deaf Ears…

Talk to your (or their) landlord or apartment manager about the problem. Find out if their lease addresses smoking. If the lease does not address smoking there are no real legal options to pursue that would be cheaper than you moving to a new apartment.† If you live in a condo or in a co-op, you can bring a complaint to your board.† Do not expect miracles, and be prepared to persist.

Next: Changes in your home

Seal Up Your Home

If all negotiations fail and you canít or donít want to move, the next step is to seal your home. You must report and document all alterations or repairs you make to your landlord or you run the risk of losing your security deposit. Keep receipts, as some landlords may be willing to reimburse you for your efforts.

The rule of thumb is that anywhere where air can enter, so can smoke.† This includes ventilation and heating ducts, doors, windows, floors, electrical plates and outlets, and ceiling-mounted light fixtures.† Bear in mind that air circulates from floor cavities to ceiling cavities (and back to floor cavities), so your challenge in sealing your apartment is sizable, since smoke can enter from all angles.

Keep air moving in your own apartment with extractive window fans or ceiling fans.

Air purifiers can help, but donít always solve the problem.

For the Considerate SmokerÖ

If you want to keep peace with your neighbors and/or want to minimize the damage to your own home, here are a few suggestions: You will need to work harder than the non-smoker in keeping your home clean. Tar and nicotine affect every surface they come in contact with. Clean all flat surfaces at least twice a week, vacuum often, use deep cleaning rug shampoos, and occasionally wash your walls with a mild detergent.

Run an air purifying filter in your home, and install a window vent fan.† It is courteous to install HEPA filters in your heating ducts to prevent your smoke from exiting your apartment through your ducts.

You can also smoke outdoors. In fact, more and more landlords are requiring tenants to smoke outdoors due to the cost of cleaning up cigarette smoke damage as well as fire hazard and insurance issues.

And if you are really considerate Ė you can quit smoking.

Herbs to Stop Smoking
How to Get Someone to Stop Smoking
6 Simple Tricks that Help Smokers Quit
Image: sardinelly/stock.xchng


Amanda A.
Amanda Ashworth4 years ago

i have really smelly walls which i am constantly cleaning.wish i could stop .

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sandy M.
Sandy M.5 years ago

This article does not say how to deal with "Patio Smoking," For 5 years, I've enjoyed breathing the pristine air and serene environment in one of 4 adjoining "Casitas"-with cute outdoor patios. Two of the casitas are side by side, and the other two are 10 feet opposite. My neighbor to the right, doesn't smoke, and we have good rapport. She also suffers from Asthma and has to have an oxygen tank in her bedroom. The neighbor across from her is not a well lady either. I'm chemically sensitive and am fully aware of the health hazards of second-hand smoke. We three ladies are in our late 60's or early 70's. The new 40 year-old attractive female Leasing Manager recently moved into the Casita opposite me. She's been smoking cigarettes DAILY, IN HER PATIO EARLY MORNING and EVENING and invites a different guy every evening TO PARTY ON THE PATIO with loud conversations and beer drinking! This is not a good "fit" for this corridor, and interferes with the health, peace and quiet of us three elder ladies who came here in an originally 55 plus apartment complex.
The Leasing Manager is difficult to reason with. Although I respect the right to everyone's lifestyle, I do not believe it is justified when their activities begin to pollute and endanger the health and well being of neighbors who want to get well. The open corridor where she sits, is constantly filled with second hand smoke. She has monopolized the entire area with noise and smoke pollution. What to do?

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener5 years ago

Not that I know.

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

Well, if there is a front porch, back patio or some place like that, you may want to find a corner to set up to smoke, even in bad weather, so you don't offend neighbors, nor will you discolor the walls.

When I used to smoke, I'd made a rule that smoking was only allowed in the kitchen, and we had a fan that blew air out the window. Since the kitchen is the easiest to wash, it seemed like a good idea.

Now, as a former smoker, I'm in the same place, and understand the complaints of non smokers. The out door area may be your best bet.

Millie O.
Millie O'Connor5 years ago

Thanks for your appreciation, Lynda G.! I hope you'll like the e-cigarette. It will feel foreign at first, naturally it's a little heavier (weight-wise) than a regular cigarette, but trust me, that'll go away and you won't feel the difference, it'll be like 2nd nature to you. Are you getting the kit that has 2 rechargeable batteries (that's the white "stick-like part", the part that looks like a cigarette w/o a filter), because you need to have one to "vape" ( as if you're 'smoking') that's what they call it,( "vaping" because it's water vapor, not "smoke") while the other one is charging. Also, stay away from the ones that have a 'button' to press every time you take a 'puff'. And some have the kind where you have to fill the 'filters' (those are called "cartomizers") yourself. Mine have the 'filters' already filled with the small amount of liquid nicotine that produces the 'vapor'. They have different levels of the liquid nicotine. 24mg, 18mg, 8mg, and 0mg. I started out with the 18mg ones, then 8mg and some that I use are either 8mg or 0mg now.
Lynda, I wish you much luck with your endeavors to quit smoking. Contact me anytime if you've got any questions or concerns with the e-cigarettes. Did you receive the green star I sent you? It said "sent", then it says,"you can't send a star because you already did this week", I haven't sent any other green stars, this is the very first time I sent one, before they said I had to earn enough 'points' to do so. I now have. :-)

Fadia C.
Fadia C.5 years ago


Jean Mccarthy
Jean Mccarthy5 years ago

Well, I've read a number of these comments and I seem to be in a catch 22. Yes, I have smoked for years, and still do smoke. Live in a basement apt. and try to always smoke by the stove vent so it will go outside. My car stinks! I smoke more when driving distances, however, at home, my average is maybe 2 cigarettes per day, but smoked in 2-3 sessions. Just need those couple of puffs. I don't like the smoke and would enjoy a cigarette more if there were no noxious fumes. If my upstairs neighbor complains then I have the opportunity to bring up the fact that I've never been around someone who uses so much BLEACH (destroying their clothes also) that I literally choke and get bad migraines from the smell. It is worse than the small amount of cigarette smoke. I wanted to completely quit but it is very difficult to do and sometimes you just need "that puff" and going from 7 pkgs/wk to 1 pkg/wk is a big change. It's not the first thing I think of each day as it is for some people, and probably was for me one time, but have done it gradually. I don't smoke around people who do not, nor blow smoke in someone's face. People don't complain that I smell like smoke so guess it's not all that bad.....I can control it but it has been gradual. Walking into a wall of smoke is terrible and I truly frown at young people, especially those with children. Sorry - hypocritical or not, but it's not "monkey see, monkey do". I'm proud to say how much I've quit after 50 yrs.

Montreal Guy
David Fairchild5 years ago

My new neighbour downstairs smokes some kind of cheap cigar that smells like burning animal dung. The stink comes into my apartment which is above him, through the electric sockets, through where the thermostats are, around the baseboard heaters, and through the telephone plugs!
My landlord has told me that it is impossible to be able to smell the smoke, and, I should stop complaining or move out!
I have a persistent cough now, and get headaches most of the time.
If I use my clothes dryer, it gets worse because that seems to suck it in more.
If I have the windows open, my heating bill doubles, and fans just blow it around more! To top that, because the weather is starting to get nicer now, he sits on his balcony and smokes, so I can't sit outside anymore, and it blows in my windows. He also likes to BBQ, using charcoal, so I get that poison smoke in my apartment as well!
When will there be a law to stop this type of anti-social behaviour?