questionssmoke from neighbors... any ideas?

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That's a tough one. I'm extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke so I know where you're coming from. I don't know what you could do except maybe move to a smoke-free apartment complex if the landlords aren't going to do anything about it. Talking to your cigarette smoking neighbors is probably not going to do anything except make them angry. Smokers tend to be touchy about their habit.

vote-for27vote-against

I have an Ionic Breeze. It makes air smell clean like right after a heavy snow.
You may need a bigger ionizer pending on concentration and size of the room.

Ionizers work on smoke. When my wife and I reserved a non-smoking room, we walked in and the room was terrible. We were given a commercial grade ionizer. 2 hours later you could not tell there was a smoker in there.

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Time to consult a local attorney as to what rights you have as a tenant in your state, and what remedies exist. The information may also be available on your states web site (look under "landlord-tenant"), or if you are low-income from the local bar referral or legal aid office. Its possible they may determine the smoke is a "nuisance" or "health hazard" that interferes with your "quiet enjoyment" of the property. The existing contract may be void or voidable, allowing you to move to another room in the complex, or to another location. Only a local attorney can tell you what rights/remedies you might have, after reviewing your specific facts and contract.

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Liquid ass worked for me.

http://www.liquidass.com

Of course, you can always take a water hose to put out any "fired" item. One day I hope to be able to pinpoint a supersoaker to only hit their "flame"

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You mentioned that the landlords/mamagement company has been side stepping this. What is the policy on smoking in the property? I had been renting (for the first time in a long time) last year. What I discovered is that all of the properties that I was looking at prohibited smoking indoors on the property. Smoking inside would result in a large cleaning fee.

If smoking is prohibited in the apartment and you should be able to press management into cracking down on the offenders. If smoking is allowed, then you are kind of stuck. If your neighbors are allowed to smoke inside then there isn't much you can do. I agree with above that asking them to stop isn't likely to work. You may be able to convince the landlord to let you out of the lease early, but likewise that doesn't work well. You best bet are to use several ionizing air cleaners, keep air moving in the place, and start looking for a new place to move into at the end of July. Just make sure smoking isn't allowed.

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If it is just the last few weeks, then something has changed. Do you have new neighbors? Perhaps ventilation issues? Maybe if you get some of the legwork done on who/what/where/etc - you'll have more information to push your landlords with.

(Former smoker here BTW) - I would disagree that smokers are "touchy" about their habit, moreso that if you tell them they can't smoke in their own home, they get rightfully angry. However; you have an absolute right to enjoy your home without pollutants! Good luck.

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As someone with a complete intolerance for tobacco (basically allergic) I can completely empathize. Talk to your neighbors either way. Don't accuse, just ask if they've noticed. If other people are bothered, you'll have a stronger case to take to your landlord. You could also happen to ask whoever is smoking, and then they'll hopefully be kind enough to not smoke indoors.

Either way, talk to your landlord if you haven't already. The more you bring it up, the more likely s/he will take care of it.

If you're not comfortable talking to people, post a flier. Just say that you're bothered and ask if whoever is smoking wouldn't mind not smoking indoors. It's a little more passive-aggressive, but it might work.

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While you are pondering the correct "neighborly" and "legal" aspects of this, I'd be also trying to figure out the "scientific" situation.

The first question that comes to my mind: does your apartment share ventilation with any of the other units? Exhaust vent in bathroom? Intake or outlet vents in any of the other rooms?

If the answer to the above is "yes" then you've probably got a big problem to tackle.

If the answer is "no" then where is the smoke infiltrating? Wall penetrations around plumbing and electrical wiring? Under the baseboard? Under the door to a common public hallway?

You've noticed it in various rooms... which rooms? And when?

Do you see any pattern to when it happens? For example, only when you're running the bathroom exhaust fan, or the kitchen range hood vent? Those things create a negative pressure in your apartment, which will pull in smoke and odor through any leaks.

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"We live in a big apartment complex where the landlords begrudgingly take care of most things, but have been side stepping this. "
My only 2 thoughts: Does 'sidestepping' mean you've spoken to them about it, or that you've notified them in writing(and hand delivered it) of the issue? In every place I ever lived, if it wasn't in writing it never happened.
Secondly, if you don't receive a timely(again, written) response and relief in a reasonable manner, contact your city health department. There would seem to be ventilation/sealing issue indicating the building is likely not up to code or something's gone awry due to the apparent recent change.

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Does the place have central heating, like a boiler room or a massive furnace for everyone? If so, my bet is someone is smoking in the room with the furnace, or near a cold air intake.

Oh and for the record as an on again off again smoker, I'm happy to accommodate anyone's needs as long as they ask nicely! If you're a jerk about it I'll ignore you, but if you treat me how you would want to be treated I will do the same!

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Just a small note. If the building does not allow smoking and the smoker is clearly breaking the rules of their contract, I would talk to them directly first. As many people have warned, yes they do get touchy. But if they are truly breaking rules, they would probably appreciate the forewarning before you go to management and get them in "real" trouble. If you can't find them, you could always try the old passive aggressive Minnesotan standby and leave a notice/poster in the area.

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A possible cheap solution (not as scientific or effective as an ionizer) would be an exhaust fan, like a window box fan. The trick is to get a good seal around the window where you set up the fan, this way you can regulate where the fresh air in your apartment is coming from. I use this setup in my apartment. If I am smoking, or cooking something that smells, I set it to exhaust, and if I go stand near my apartment door to the hallway, I can feel the draft of air being pulled in (i.e. much less of my smelly air is reaching outside my apartment). Similarly, if I reverse the fan direction (most fans for this purpose have a reverse switch), I will notice air being constantly evacuated from my apartment and replaced with fresh air from the window the fan is set up at. Won't work if there is a smoker right outside your window, and its not 100% since smoke can disperse pretty effectively in air no matter where it is flowing, but any little bit helps I guess.

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Germ Guardian Air Clearner/Sanitizer
http://www.guardiantechnologies.com/AC3900-Table-Top-Complete-Air-Cleaning-System-Details.html

My son is really sensitive to particles in the air, and since I got him this, he sleeps so much better!

(I think I got my second one of these for the house from a Woot-Off)

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I have a similar problem. I live in an older building with a landlord who doesn't really care what the tenants do as long as they pay the rent. I have neighbors who moved in a few months ago who smoke and it travels through our ancient heating system into my apartment. It's maddening, and it upsets my sinus issues, but legally there isn't much I can do about it. I got a small air purifier I've been dragging my heels on actually setting up, but ultimately I plan to move because of this and other issues. I'll be looking for a smoke-free apartment building (ideally a small, owner-occupied space) next.

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I use to be on the other end of this, I was the one doing the smoking. Not sure there is much you can do. Management put out a notice a couple times saying how smoking in your apartment will cost you money, but they never made me stop. However, you might try and find whoever it is and just ask them. After I realized I was bothering other people I tried to do what I could to minimize the smell (with the exception of quitting).

If you need help getting rid of the smell, try Ozium spray. Smells funky immediately after using, but does remove the smell. Can find it easy enough on amazon. I credit it with helping me get my whole deposit back after smoking inside for 3 years.

I've quit now, mostly because I was tired of getting the feeling of other people looking down on me. Smokers just seem to be the bane of society these days. But pot's okay I guess, go figure.

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@countdown: " If I am smoking, or cooking something that smells, I set it to exhaust, and if I go stand near my apartment door to the hallway, I can feel the draft of air being pulled in"

Unfortunately, if the smoke is infiltrating into the poster's apartment from the hallway, from the lobby, or from leaks into other tenants' apartments, then this will just pull in more smoke.

"Similarly, if I reverse the fan direction (most fans for this purpose have a reverse switch), I will notice air being constantly evacuated from my apartment and replaced with fresh air from the window"

Which will certainly work... but might be a bit problematic when the temperature outside the window is 10º F. It will also possibly pull in exhaust and other fumes from outside, as well as outside noise pollution.

I still think the first step is to find the source of the smoke, and try to isolate the OP's apartment from the rest of the building.

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@crowbite: agreed. That is why I was emphasizing the second scenario for evacuating the smoke, but yes, not too practical when it is unpleasant outside. The first scenario I was mainly just describing to illustrate the complete picture. I smoke, so that scenario is how I use it, to exhaust the smoke.

Agreed again though that you need to find the source; I am never happy applying a band-aid to cover up a problem unless I know what is causing that problem.

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First off, thanks for all the input. It's good to hear of some options.
Second, sorry for the late response, I did not get a minute at work yesterday to write back to any of you.

Now, to answer some questions:

The source is the hard question:
-We know that one neighbor smokes, and that answers the smoke that seems to be coming through that wall (unless a heating vent is hitting that exact spot, which is a possibility).
-At the opposite end of the apartment, smoke seems to be coming in through the kitchen sink - through the plumbing? But this is away from the neighbors that we know that smoke.
-In the opposite corner from the known neighbors that smoke, we smell smoke in the middle of the night. Our bedroom door is normally closed, and we don't turn on the heater during the night. This one baffles me as to where it's coming from. Maybe through the closed window?

(continued below)

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To answer the question about the landlord "sidestepping" the issue - 2 weeks ago I did some serious complaining to them about this (I had a horrible night's sleep and felt sick the next day because of it). Nothing changed. A week and a half later I sent in the proper complaint again - this time, "someone came by, but didn't smell smoke, so they left", and they left it at that. Since then they came by and said they "sealed" some pipes and replaced a filter... nothing changed.

@crowbite: Yes, I'm pretty sure just about everything is shared in these apartments. Our furnace isn't even in our apartment, and I don't know where it is. Maybe the air intake is in another apartment?
@caffeine_dude: I'll have to look into one of those. If it takes a couple hours to clean the air, that may be too long though. It doesn't always stick around for that long even (maybe only while they are smoking?), but long enough to make me sick.

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@gmartell: I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do that much work :) Most people that I have talked to in the complex "remember" that smoking isn't allowed indoors, but I've been searching the contract and can't find that. "odors or other nuisance" are not allowed on the premises, "free from objectionable odors", etc. But, I haven't found anything about smoking (yet). I'll check more into what other options we have.

Thanks everyone for your input! This is the reason why I stick around deals.woot

...off to work again...

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Ask them to quit smoking because it is bad for them. If they refuse, punch them in the face.

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@luvche21: You say a lot without making anything very clear. If I can't picture your apartment and the building it's in, I can't make very specific suggestions.

For example you say something about the "heating vent hitting the wall". Vents are inanimate... they do not "hit" anything. What are you trying to say?

Do you have a heat and/or AC vent, and a return air vent, in every room? Or do you have radiators for heat (either the old cast iron ones, or newer baseboard style)?

If you have forced-air heat (possibly with AC as well) and it's a common unit for the whole building, you're pretty much out of luck. If you have radiant heat, then you should not share air with the rest of the building, except for leaks.

Depending on construction, leaks can be almost anywhere. If the walls were not caulked tight to the floor, you can have significant leaks under the walls. Every place a plumbing pipe or an electrical outlet penetrates a wall, you can have leaks around the penetration, etc.

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My neighbors smoke too! What a bunch of losers, its a family with a baby and think a grandma too. We live in an apartment with concrete walls. Everyone's got a terrace so people go out on the terrace to kick a stoge and its ez for that smoke to just drift into your apartment. The F ed up part is that the building mgmt doesnt let anyone have a bqq, but you sure as hell smoke it up! That s--t wakes me up a night too! I feel your and your wife's pain. In fact I can smell cig smoke in my apartment right now! WTF!!???

So what can we do? THIS IS WAR. F--- your neighbors. Why should you compromise your quality of life b/c others dont care about theirs? Do you like bass? My neighbors get blasted with bass every time I get any wiff of smoke. I even turn the speakers around to blast their wall. I talk s--t when I see them in the hall. Make it uncomfortable for them. This is our health on the line. Its beyond being polite. F--k smokers. PS I used to smoke a pack a day for 15yrs.