by William B. Campbell, III, VP of Sales and Marketing, Campbell Property Management

Secondhand Smoke in CondoSecondhand smoke coming into your condo from neighboring units poses both a health risk and a significant nuisance. If your neighbors smoke, it is very easy for secondhand smoke to make its way into your unit, which can be very frustrating and can result in a reduced quality of living.

If your condo neighbor smokes, there are some steps you can take to avoid secondhand smoke seeping into your living space:

• First, try to locate the entry point(s) of the secondhand smoke. Typically, cigarette smoke is transferred from one unit to another through air vents, pipes, gaps in insulation, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, windows and doors.
• Once you find the entry points of the secondhand smoke, seal the gaps. Large gaps can be filled with insulating foam, while small gaps can be filled with silicone caulk.
• Install door draft excluders under doors that open into hallways and common areas.
• Seal around windows with caulk or weather stripping. This will prevent smoke from entering your unit and will increase your energy efficiency.
• Install extractive window fans. These help to draw smoke outside and increase ventilation.

Do you have neighbors who smoke? Have you ever dealt with secondhand smoke entering your condo unit? If so, how did you handle the situation? Let us know in the comment section below.

  1. Helen says:

    There are 150 apartments where I live. 4-plexes.(all.)
    This smoker lives across the sidewalk.
    The management says smoke and fumes can not travel in the outside air, only thru the furnace vents in the 4 plexes.
    I get strong smoke when she is smoking outside on her porch, and inside in her kitchen. IT COMES THRU THE AIR, NEXT DOOR, AND INTO MY ROOF VENTS, ELECTRICAL VENTS, ETC. *4 plex bldgs are only about 20 ft. apart.)

    HOW CAN PEOPLE SAY IT CAN’T HAPPEN, WHEN CLEARLY IT DOES. THE SMOKE ODOR COMES INTO MY UNIT WHEN THE AC OR FURNACE COMES ON! THRU THE AIR RIGHT NEXT DOOR, AND INTO MY APARTMENT, (4 PLEX) WHY CAN’T THEY BELIEVE IT?

  2. Ronnie Taulbee says:

    Really? A bunch of BS! Anyone that breathes in secondhand smoke will definitely be affected anybody who says differently is a true-blue moron. I live in an apartment building and the girl to my wall who I called the Stitch Queen is disgusting! She smokes like a freight train so does her stupid several dozen boyfriends. Black & Mild cigarettes hot you name it, it sucks and I don’t care where you live if you don’t smoke or even if you used to smoke, you just don’t want to be around that! I’ve had open heart surgery I have a pacemaker and I used to smoke years ago I understand one smoking is about, but I never ever suffered others to my habit.

    • Sheila Davis says:

      Totally agree, I use to smoke, n now I’m still subject to 2nd hand smoking. Seems I breathe the crap, 24/7 . It’s like, is that all you do, is smoke. When I use to smoke, I always, hot or cold weather, went outside. I never subjected anyone to my bad habit. I’m suppose to have surgery, n had to quit. Hope their nasty habit, doesn’t affect my health or prevent me from getting the surgery, due to risk of infection, from 2nd hand smoke. When I moved here, I was told, no smoking. Some people have no respect or consideration for others.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a neighbor who smokes and has more than several cats. I have had three cases of cancer, one recently after two decades. I have lived in this apartment for eleven years, she has lived here five and has never been on the lease and landlord knows that. I am moving to another apartment. I hope everyone else does too!

  3. Janice says:

    I have a couple the woman is in a wheel chair she smokes in the bed room all night long I have a fan in the bedroom but the smoke still comes in. I am up most of the night. Live in Senior Citizen housing. No body I have contacted cares.

    • Jay M. says:

      I second that: I live in senior housing with other people who have COPD, asthma (which I also have) and heart ailments.

      I’ve had to become my own advocate and point out in the lease that my health can’t be adversely affected by my neighbors habits
      .
      Within a 2 weeks, and several layers of silicone caulk, spray foam and plywood; maintenance sealed every smoke spewing crevasse in the apartment.

      Become the squeaky wheel… and don’t let them ignore you or your health issues!

    • Ella says:

      I am a senior citizen with asthma. My new neighbors smoke and It comes into my unit. I told my Landlord about it. He told me to talk with them about it. I have, but like they say they pay rent here too. I just feel like something should or could be done. I can’t breath, my nose and eyes burns my chest hurts. I cant go outside without smelling cigarette smoke cant stay inside without smelling cigarette smoke. I cannot afford to move… I have told my children’s if I died in my sleep make sure they have an autopsy done to see it I suffocated from inhaling cigarette smoke.
      I wonder why cigarette smokers dont swallow the smoke that is the reason they smoke isn’t ?

    • Eim says:

      I’m in the same situation, reported it to the landlord and because this is a smoking building that they didn’t tell me. No one cares, it’s all about the all mighty dollar fill up these apartments.

  4. Debbie says:

    We live in a rental upscale senior living building in Florida with a policy of No Smoking in the Building. We have a two bedroom unit and were happy there. However, seven months ago an elderly lady in a wheel chair moved to the apartment above me and one of her aides, the one on the night shifts, smokes in her personal unit bathroom right above me. The smoke infiltrates my apartment every night. I cough and suffer from other health problems because of this constant second hand smoke. The aide denies smoking. I complained to the director many times in person and in writing. Security was sent. They are met at the door by the aide who denies smoking. Since July 1, 2019, it became illegal in Florida to smoke inside a building at work. Not only do we live in a senior living among old people, but there is a sign of No Smoking, Oxygen use on the door of that apartment above me. However the aide ignores all this and still smokes. I have no evidence, she smokes only at night behind a closed bathroom door and closed blinds. It is my word against her. I was treated for a brain tumor in the past and I am very sensitive to smoke and other smells, therefore I am the only person who smells and suffer from that cigarette or e-cigarette smoke coming from upstairs. What can I do? Debbie

  5. frank canale says:

    I need an attorney. I am in a building that a unit below me who is a chain smoker caused smoke damage in multiple units. These units have been painted and cleaned numerous amount of times. Its been over a year and due to the unit smelling like cigarette smoke I am unable to rent my unit. I have lost over $ 20k and counting. The management company advising that they can not do anything about this. The HOA advising to go to my insurance company. The damage is already done without disinfecting the smokers unit my unit will always smell. No matter how many times I clean my unit a week later its as if I did nothing.

    Please help.

    Thank you

  6. Anonumous says:

    Often the smoke comes thru the return vents in a building. you could seal all vents including the ductwork vents and use either a window a/c or the floor unit style a/c with the smaller window exhaust. In the winter the fireplace heaters work very well.

  7. Carrie Harper says:

    I have asthma and have lived with second hand smoke coming up through the vents from the neighbors below in my condo. I have lived with this for 4 years now. I am trying to sell my house to get away from it but the prospective buyers all complain about my unit smelling like smoke! Catch 22. I bought an Ozone generator. Well you can’ be around when you run it and it has to have time to dissipate and I never know when I’m going to have showings so I can’t just turn it on when I leave. There must be something I can do and also some legal recourse action that I can take. I’m listening…..

  8. Lillian Robustelli says:

    We have a designated smoking area. Right above are windows into a craft room. Smoke comes in around widows and a door. What fl. Law can we use to stop this. Owner is not helpful. Senior park. ?

    • Louise Bernal says:

      I live in a senior rental that was recently renovated. Supposedly know everyone has their own filtration system, However, The smell of smoke is so strong that I end up with upset stomach’s and a sore throat. I have vaulted ceiling’s which is where the filters are located and cannot reach to replace the filters as often as I would like to. They were replaced a couple of days ago and ever since the smoke has been rampant day and night. It’s as if these people are just laughing at the non-smokers and right now I believe I am the only non-smoker in the building. I have been doing everything I can to see if I can get out but it is very difficult since these people don’t live here the ones running the place so they just claim it’s very hard to find out who is causing the problem. As beautiful as the apartment itself is, it has turned out to be a nightmare not only is there a cigarette smoking going on but they’re also smoking pot which smells to high heaven. How do you get anyone to listen and do something about this situation. If anyone knows I’m listening and I’d appreciate it thank you

  9. Xochipili says:

    What can i do if I had done a complain with the apartment owner and with my nieghbors but they still continue smoking how can i stop them from smoking and how can i protect myself

    • Crstlgls says:

      Call your state’s Legal Aid department and see if you have a case. If they can put you with an attourney, you will have to prove you don’t have the money to pay for one out of pocket.

  10. Hampie Roberts says:

    I own a condo that I rent out and my last three renters have complained about the smell of smoke and moved because of it. I believe this is a next wall neighbor who has lived there about five years (we share the same attic space). Is my HOA responsible for this? I ‘m planning on selling it but I’m sure no one will buy it once I disclose the smoke problem. Has anyone had this same problem?

    • Anonymous says:

      I live in Town Villas and the owner before me never disclosed smoke coming in from both sides of the unit daily.
      Total scam not letting me know.

  11. Bad News says:

    While the scent of smoke in these situations is likely irritating to some, unless you are in a closed environment with a smoker (i.e. living together), there are few if any true health considerations other than possibly setting off an asthmatic. Concentrations are too low.

    • Anne says:

      If it isn’t health considerations than why do I wake up tasting nicotine? That’s like saying a little bit of acid isn’t going to burn you unless you are close to it… the fumes can hurt you. They also discolor your environment. And it’s coming through the walls.

      • spanky says:

        If you were in a closed garage for 8 hrs, and 20 people were constantly smoking, you probably wouldn’t die. However if you were in that same closed garage for 8 hrs with a motorized weed wacker, I’d say you probably wouldn’t live. So if your concerned about your breathing… Think about the cars and buses running in drive threws, parked at bus stops, running in front of your work place, or running in your driveway. Just food for thought.

        • Crstlgls says:

          Android, i second that. Secondhand smoke is harmful to anyone that breathes it. And that much secondhand smoke would definitely affect your breathing. If a home does not have a smoke-free policy, it isn’t worth the money to live in. Secondhand smoke can travel up to 20 ft. I am always looking for ways to protect myself, indoors or out, but I refuse to breathe near anyone with a lit cigarette, or any other kind of toxic tobacco or marijuana product.

    • Cinrn says:

      I am an RN and my son and I cough, get sore throats and loss of voice when exposed to 2nd hand smoke. We inhale it, just as the smoker does! You are Grossly Misinformed!

    • Anonymous says:

      Bad News: I’d love to see the research that it doesn’t have “any true health considerations” since my neighbor smokes like a chimney (shared wall) and the smell is awful. I’d be stunned to find it isn’t really bad for us….!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not true. Read about SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome. Number one risk factor is cigarette smoke, and not necessary smoke – even the SMELL.

  12. Dahlia Rose says:

    I am so sorry to hear the sufferings you folks have to go through. I used to live in an apartment and had to suffer due to my next door neighbor’s constant smoking in the morning and evening. So all the smoke smell came right into my unit for years. So I started to pray so strong and hard and I have been praying. And then one day he stopped smoking and never smoked since then.
    So I advise you to pray. God will listen and answer.
    Former victim from smoking.

  13. Pat says:

    Hi I am a cancer survivor who lives next to a chain smoker. I tried asking her to open her window periodically. The smoke pushes into my unit from 5:30a.m.-2:30a.m. or until 10:00 or 12:00a.m. I use nasal spray once my nose starts burning and have to open my window even when the weather is cold. Please advise how I can figure out exactly how it is entering my unit so I can close it off. I have a door draft and plan to pickup electrical socket plugs. Your help is much appreciated.

  14. Mary says:

    I consulted with air quality experts and the study to find the source of the smoke was going to cost $5-$10K, plus I would probably still need a $10k air filter. So they recommended skipping the study and just installing the air filter,which is what I did. Sometimes the smoke builds up between the times the air filter runs, and I just flip it on for a few minutes and it quickly clears my house. It’s infuriating that my neighbors could basically force me to spend $10k on clean air but in my state I don’t think I could have gotten any of the protections people get in other states and let’s be honest, even if I could have gotten those protections someone would have slashed my tires.

  15. E says:

    I also have a downstairs neighbor in a duplex that I rent who loves to smoke weed and cigarettes. I have complained to the landlord numerous times and nothing is ever done. I truly hate people!

        • sd says:

          Well the Police don’t care right?
          Now go to the corridor, grab a fire extinguisher and spray the face of your neighbor with CO2(only) to see if the Police care or not.
          Here is the point, a smoker can buff 500 carcinogen chemicals in your face every 20 minutes but it takes one CO2 spray to the police to come.
          Something is wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        In many areas the police won’t do anything. I live in an apartment where people in all 3 units attached to mines smoke marijuana for 4 to 12 hours at a time each. I have called the police at least a half dozen times. They won’t come out, because “they can’t invade people’s privacy and it’s a matter in between me and the landlord.” Really, the issue is that because marijuana usage is so widespread they don’t want to spend the time dealing with these type of calls even though I live in what is supposed to be, per my lease, a non-smoking apartment in a non-smoking city. I have reported the issue to the property manager and corporate dozens of times. The issue still exists and the property manager began ignoring my complaints months ago. So, we have no option but to walk away. It’s intolerable and we are having health effects from smoke.

    • Anonymous says:

      Me too
      I hate that my health and well being seems to be only important to me

      My landlord and neighbors could care less about the constant smoke coming into my unit

      • Anonymous says:

        I feel the exact same way. It’s tough when you end up in a situation where there are more smokers in a non-smoking apartment than those who don’t smoke. The longer that the issue has gone unaddressed the bolder the smokers have gotten. We went from people smoking marijuana primarily indoors which was coming into my apartment, to standing outside directly underneath the window that I’d opened to get some relief from the secondhand smoke, to sitting on the outside stairs smoking marijuana, standing on the sidewalk and on the balcony with the smoke blowing directly into the windows that I opened to alleviate us from the indoor secondhand marijuana smoke. It’s all very much like a nightmare. It’s difficult to recognize that the smoke is physically making your family sick despite claims some want to make that it doesn’t and to see the drain on your health, such as sleepless nights due to the tenant underneath or next to you smoking all night. I have no choice but to walk away. i have requested to amicably end my lease and those requests were first denied and then ignored.

  16. Thomas M. Higgins says:

    We live on the second floor in a condo and we are not able to sit outside on our patio due to the three people living below us They spend most of the day and night smoking and watching television on their patio below us. We run our air conditioner about 98% to 99% of the time because if the sliding doors or windows are open it draws the smoke in. If we could open up our home once and a while and get fresh air, I am sure my electric bill would be lower. Also, I will probably have to replace my air conditioner unit earlier than I should because it runs constantly. My wife has asthma and has a hard time breathing around smoke. My wife and I feel like we have no rights in this situation. We should be able to enjoy FRESH AIR once and a while.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read your Master Deed….if it talks about nuisance in it then you might have a good case, especially if you have s doctors note stating that you should avoid smoke due to health issues. I do, and the CONDO HOA sent a letter to the renter stating that they could only smoke outside. This has worked for two years now and we do not have the smoke smell or burning eyes either, due to my cholesterol level on the high side my doctor told me that second hand smoke was harmful with my condition.

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