Quick Fixes to Create Smoke-free Apartments

Quote from landlord about smoke-free housing

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) position statement on secondhand smoke says “Currently, the only way to effectively eliminate health risks associated with indoor exposure is to ban smoking activity.”

Though a no-smoking rule is the best way to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, there are a few "quick fixes" to protect yourself and your family. These fixes are temporary, and every effort should be made to communicate your reasonable request for smoke-free housing to your landlord.

  1. Talk to the smoking neighbor:
    • Politely let your neighbor know that smoke is coming into your apartment.
    • Explain why secondhand smoke is a health hazard for you and your family.
    • Ask them if they would mind smoking outside to minimize the smoke coming into your apartment.
    • Ask them if they would be willing to have their unit insulated and sealed off, as described below.
  2. Ask your landlord to improve air filtration:
    • Add more fresh air intakes into the ventilation system.
    • Clean, change, or install better filters in the ventilation system.
    • Restrict the amount of air exhausted through the ventilation system from the residences of tenants who smoke.
  3. Seal off your apartment and the smoker's apartment:
    • Install door sweeps.
    • Fill or patch any cracks in the walls.
    • Insulate the air spaces around plumbing pipes.
    • Insulate and place outlet covers over electrical outlets.
  4. Ask your landlord to move you to another unit that does not have neighbors who smoke.
  5. If the complex has multiple buildings, discuss with your landlord the possibility of designating a smoke-free building.