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Strategies to Eliminate Secondhand Smoke in Your Residence

See Live Smoke Free's brochure Enjoying Smoke-Free Air in Your Apartment for more suggestions on eliminating secondhand smoke in your unit.

Step One: Document the Problem

  • Determine the source of the secondhand smoke.
    • When do you smell smoke: all the time, only in the evening or morning?
    • Where is the smoke entering your unit?
    • Where do you think the smoke is coming from?
    • Keep a log of when and where in your unit you smell smoke.
  • Make a list of the solutions you've tried already.
    • What steps have you taken? View our Temporary Fixes page for short-term solutions.
    • Fans, air fresheners, and other “smoke eaters” will only mask the problem, but trying some temporary solutions might help you illustrate the situation to your neighbors and board.
  • Talk with your neighbors.
    • Are your neighbors experiencing the same problem? Will they talk to the association board?
    • If you feel comfortable doing so, consider approaching your neighbor who smokes and politely voice your concerns. Focus on solutions, such as asking them to smoke outside and away from the building.
    • Keep track of all conversations and correspondence.
  • Keep track of all symptoms and illnesses.
    • Document any health problems you and your family are experiencing as a result of secondhand smoke in your unit.
    • Health problems may include ear infections, sore throats, asthma attacks, and bronchitis.
    • Ask your health care provider to write a letter stating that the secondhand smoke causes your family to be sick.

Step Two: Talk to Your Association Board

  • Write a letter to your association or property manager.
    • Explain your problem and offer solutions.
    • If appropriate, include a copy of a letter from your doctor explaining your health problems.
    • Keep copies of any correspondence.
  • Follow up by approaching your board and/ or property manager to discuss the situation.
    • Be positive, polite, and stick to the issue.
    • Ask your board, property manager, and neighbors to work together to solve the problem instead of getting angry or arguing.
  • Provide information.
    • Give your board and property manager information on the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke.
    • Explain the benefits of having a smoke-free building.
  • Offer solutions.
    • Work with your property manager and association and offer to brainstorm or implement solutions.
    • Possible solutions include:
      1. Conduct a resident survey.
      2. Hold a residents' meeting.
      3. Have Live Smoke Free come and present to the board and residents.
  • Emphasize that building owners can legally make their buildings smoke free.
  • Suggest that smoke-free units and/ or buildings can be established.
    • New owners can start off smoke free.
    • Make units that are rented out by owners smoke-free.

Step Three: Work with an Outside Authority

  • Contact Live Smoke Free.
    • Live Smoke Free can provide you with information, help you write letters, or suggest further steps to take.
  • Consider contacting the following:
  • Share your story.
  • Research your legal options.
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