Mark Roemer image of a person lighting up a smoke

How to Deal with Neighbors Who Smoke

I, Mark Roemer, am here to inform you that residents and tourists are protected from second-hand smoke in public areas in several states. You should expect clean air in a restaurant, bar, hotel, concert hall, museum, or shopping mall.

What about apartment buildings, though? The legislation does not apply to living units, but it does to common indoor areas. While an indoor laundry room or gym is often smoke-free, you can be exposed to second-hand smoke from other units. This means you will have to deal with smoking neighbors.

Is Smoking Allowed?

Check your lease agreement for details that might help you avoid second-hand smoke. Owners of apartment complexes and condominiums and individual living units must follow policies that make their buildings smoke-free.

However, your lease can permit smoking in some areas of the property. It’s not uncommon to find apartment buildings or shared outdoor spaces that encourage smoking.

Dealing with Neighbors

Second-hand smoke knows no bounds and can penetrate your apartment through cracks in the walls, light fixtures, and electrical outlets. While confronting anyone is never pleasant, it may be the simplest solution.

1. Get in touch with your smoking neighbors.

It may be as easy as requesting that your neighbor smoke outside. This will reduce the amount of smoke that enters your apartment through shared walls. Since the air is less dense in outdoor spaces, second-hand smoke is less likely to affect you.

If your apartment complex has a no-smoking policy and you’re getting second-hand smoke into your building, speak with the property managers. They should be able to implement the policy without causing you or your neighbors any problems. If your lease agreement does not cover smoking, you would have no legal recourse if anyone in your complex smokes.

Your demands would not be met with enthusiasm by all smokers. Many people believe deeply in their right to smoke. Current smoking bans or limitations in their culture can also frustrate them. If your neighbor refuses to negotiate and your apartment complex does not prohibit smoking indoors, you have a few options inside your unit.

2. Make adjustments to your apartment

If you can’t or don’t want to move, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the impact of smoking neighbors in your apartment. To indeed prevent smoke from entering your apartment, all entry points must be sealed. Ventilation, doors, windows, electrical outlets, and lighting fixtures are all included. Make sure you’re not breaking your lease’s terms by making any changes.

You can also buy a few items to help your apartment circulate air more effectively. To keep the air moving, use a box fan or ceiling fan. An air purifier is another choice, but it will not eliminate all smoke. An air purifier will potentially do something in your neighbor’s apartment if they can use it. You may want to consider buying it or dividing the cost. However, it will never be able to remove smoke from the atmosphere thoroughly.

Common Area Smoking

When you live in an apartment, you’re likely to share open spaces with other people. Walking trails, picnic areas, and other recreational areas can be included. In most cases, your neighbors will be able to smoke whenever they want in the open air. There may be dedicated smoking areas in specific apartment complexes, but this is not always the case.

If you’re bothered by someone smoking in a shared outdoor space, there are a few things you can do to solve the problem. Moving away from the smoke might be the most straightforward alternative. To avoid coming into contact with second-hand smoke, move your activities to a different table or walk in the other direction.

Don’t be afraid to respectfully request that someone move away from you or your children if they smoke. While this is not an unreasonable request, no one is obliged to comply. Most people are not sensitive to complaints about their lifestyle, so being respectful is important. Here are some phrases to use if you want to start a conversation about someone smoking near you:

  • “Excuse me, but I try to avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible. Can you please put out the cigarette?”
  • “Second-hand smoke causes asthma in my brother. Could you please refrain from smoking right now? We’d be grateful.”
  • “Do you mind if you smoke somewhere, I won’t be bothered by your cigarette smoke?” Thank you so much for your patience.”

If You’re A Smoker

There are a few options available to smokers who wish to keep peace with their neighbors.


Second-hand smoke affects any surface that nicotine comes into contact with—clean flat surfaces twice a week, such as tables and countertops. Vacuuming and deep-cleaning the carpets or rugs should be done regularly. You may also use a gentle detergent to wash your walls now and then.

Air Purification

Air circulation can be improved by using ceiling fans or adding a window fan. Smoke is kept out of your apartment by HEPA filters in the heating ducts. Check your lease agreement to make sure you’re not making any changes to your apartment that aren’t allowed. Opening a window or door allows the smoke to escape while also allowing fresh air to enter.

Go Outside

Another choice is to smoke outside. If your apartment complex has any restrictions on smoking indoors or in designated outdoor smoking areas, your contract will note them. Be considerate of places that are usually more crowded, such as basketball or tennis courts.

Know Your Rights

Smokers have the freedom to smoke in areas where it is not banned. If you smoke or not, be courteous to those around you.

Check your lease carefully when looking for an apartment to rent for details about smoking in units or changes you might make to your unit to reduce second-hand smoke. To make sharing common spaces convenient and secure for all residents, use the techniques mentioned above.


I, Mark Roemer, agree that smoking is a dirty habit. However, there is little that can be done about others who choose to smoke. Your best bet is to look over your lease and determine if the property manager needs to get involved. Short of that, all I can say is open some windows, get an air purifier, and wash your apartment frequently. Perhaps in the future, you could look for an apartment that has a no smoking policy.