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

Yes, you can make your condo building smokefree

Top'o the mornin' to yah

flickr photo courtesy of chrispetescia

Want to make your condo building smokefree? You can.

The bottom line, according to a detailed column in The Washington Post, is that you need to amend your condominium documents. There are a lot of hurdles to doing so, but it’s feasible.

To avoid issues of secondhand smoke infiltrating nonsmokers’ units, it’s a good idea.

Wrote lawyer Benny L. Kass:

In condominium law, there is a hierarchy that must be followed by the board of directors and by a judge if there is litigation. The highest priority is a state’s condominium act. The condominium laws in the Washington area are designed to provide some flexibility for associations to adapt their rules to their particular situations.

This is good information because secondhand smoke seems to be an increasing problem in multi-unit dwellings. Here at Smokefree DC, we get a steady stream of calls and emails from people who are at their wit’s end because of a neighbor’s smoke entering their apartment. One person who called had moved out while trying to resolve the issue.

That’s just wrong. The right to breathe clean air should trump the so-called “right” to smoke anytime. And just fyi, there is no constitutional right to smoke.

When condos have detailed rules preventing everything from loud music late at night to noxious cooking odors, it just makes sense to add secondhand smoke to the list of nuisances must be curtailed if bother others. After all, secondhand smoke isn’t just a nuisance — it’s a well-documented health hazard.

Have a problem with secondhand smoke? Here are some tips.


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