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

It's a trend: Nonsmokers in apartments and condos are speaking up against secondhand smoke

The Washington Post has a good story this week detailing how more nonsmokers who live in apartments and condos are speaking up about secondhand smoke intruding into their living spaces.

The article notes that while it used to be assumed that smokers have a right to smoke in their homes, more people are realizing that nonsmokers also have a right to breathe clean air in their homes.

Secondhand smoke is more than just a nuisance — it’s a health hazard. For children and people with asthma or compromised immune systems, secondhand smoke is particularly harmful.

The story quotes one resident whose young daughter has asthma:

I leave doors and windows open, even as I sleep … I’ve moved to sleep in my daughter’s room now because the other side of the apartment is full of smoke.

That’s just wrong. Sorry folks, but the right to breathe clean air in one’s home trumps the “right” to smoke in one’s home every time.

If you live in a condo, apartment building or co-op, there are certain rules you have to abide by to ensure the comfort and basic health of everyone else. You can’t have band practice at 3 a.m. You can’t light a bonfire in your living room. Some condos have rules about noxious cooking odors.

Secondhand smoke is a lot worse than that. Let’s hope more nonsmokers speak up for their rights. Ask the smoker to smoke outside (this actually worked for me once). Petition your board or management association to make the building smokefree. File a nuisance complaint within your condo or apartment structure.

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