Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

Guidelines to sharing walls omitted key point

Recently, The Washington Post ran an article containing guidelines about sharing walls with neighbors. It noted that “odors, especially from
smoking, are another fairly common complaint.” I sent a letter to the editor in, but it didn’t make it in. Here’s what it said:

Secondhand smoke is more than just a bad odor – it is a health hazard.
It contains 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known or suspected
carcinogens. The Surgeon General has said there is no safe level of
exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in non-smokers and aggravates respiratory problems. No
one should have to breathe someone else’s smoke in their own home.

Condo boards and apartment management companies seem slow to adjust to this reality. They make elaborate rules about noise and cooking smells, but rarely tell smokers they must step outside if their smoke is infiltrating nearby units. But boards and management companies can legally do this, and they should.

We encourage tenants and condo owners to educate their management
companies or condo boards about the health hazards of secondhand smoke
and to adopt smokefree policies.

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