Posted On March 11, 2016


There are many benefits of living in multi-family dwellings. They are secure, they are high on amenities, but low on maintenance. On the flip side, sometimes you have to bear with some of your neighbors' insensibilities which may range anything from loud parties well past midnight to smoking in the common areas. What do you do when second hand smoke (SHS) seeps into your rooms from your neighboring units? Nothing much legally, we are sorry to say. The law may not be on your side unless you are living in a community that has already declared it 'smoke-free.' Living with a smoking neighbor is both a nuisance and extremely dangerous on health grounds. if you are not living in a smoke-free complex, you have to fight your personal battle on your own. Quick fixes such as fan or air freshener only mask the problem. We have some innovative way-outs that may help you outsmart your smoking neighbor:

Locate the Entry Points

Besides open windows, patio or balcony, SHS may seep into your unit through multiple entry-points including air vents, cable or phone jacks, gaps in insulation and even the ventilation system. Seal the gaps between air vents, lighting fittings, electrical points, and pipes with suitable filler such as insulating foam or silicone caulk. If you live in a rented flat, install an exhaust fan with your landlord’s permission to increase ventilation.

Talk to Your Neighbor 

When you know the points where the smoke is coming from, request your neighbor to block the exit points in his residence. If the person seems considerate and co-operative, take a step further and request him to smoke outside the building.

Mobilize Opinion 

Connect with other neighbors who are experiencing the same problem and are willing to work together to address the nuisance. Talk to your landlord and the reps at the house owner's association, requesting action against the spread of secondhand smoke throughout the apartment building.

Talk to Your Doctor 

Does your neighbor refuse to budge? Keep track of your frequently repeating illnesses such as sneeze, cough, asthma attacks and so on, and ask your doctor to give a note stating that an exposure to passive smoking may be causing these ailments.

You are not alone, millions across India are suffering from the nuisance of secondhand smoke in multi-unit dwellings. Raise your voice for adopting a building-wide smoke-free policy. You can even download our free app to protest against passive smoking. With a joint effort, you can make a difference.