Cigarette Smoke Odors From Neighbors

A very bothersome and possibly health threatening situation can develop when cigarette smoke invades your home. This guide is about cigarette smoke odors from neighbors.


January 25, 2011 Flag
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The woman living below me is a chain smoker. She smokes one right after the other and the smell comes up through the walls and light sockets. It gets into my kitchen area and bathroom. I have to keep fans running all the time. The smell is awful. I have asthma. Is it possible to remove this bad smell?

By Rachel from WI

January 27, 20110 found this helpful

I would try those smokers candles, they eliminate smoke smells. Good luck. Jenny

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January 27, 20110 found this helpful

You can also get seals for light fixtures, plugs and switches that insulate against air leakage around those areas. I would also check to see if your doors and windows have a tight seal. Have you tried getting an portable air purifier cleaner the kind that you can wash the filter? I would ask your doctor about a prescription for one. Since you have asthma, you may be able to get some help getting and paying for one.

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful

There is something called odor eliminator gel you can buy at Home Depot or Walmart in the auto/car departments. It does a great job of getting rid of foul odor. Also, their is something at Home Depot, cigarette smoke eliminator aerosol spray. It works very well. My sympathy. Until I quite smoking 4 years ago, I had no idea how offensive smoking can be to non smokers. It's like bad b.o.!

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June 22, 20150 found this helpful

It's not the smoker's fault that her smoke is getting into your apartment. It's the landlord's fault. They cut corners when building, and didn't ensure that things were sealed properly. Since it sounds as if smoking is permitted, there's really very little you can do about it. You can ask management to put in some seals, but that doesn't mean they'll move on it.

What you should ask management for is a reasonable accommodation form, or make up one on your own (there are examples online), even if s/he says they'll take care of the problem, as most times they drag their feet or *forget* if they have to do extra work. Fill it in with all the information you've put here, and specifiy what needs to be done about it, including the possibility that management may need to relocate you, and get your doctor to sign off on it. Make a copy and give the original to the manager. It's a violation of ADA for them not to do anything about it then. While asthma is not considered a disability unless it's so severe that it prevents you from working, it is classified as a handicapping condition.

Relocating the smoker won't do that much good, as smoke is a stubborn scent that can linger for months or yrs if not properly treated. But relocating you may not help, either, as management can go ahead and rent an apartment near you to a smoker if a non-smoker moves out. The best thing to do is to make them accommodate your medical condition by not only sealing your apartment, but the smoker's as well. The next best thing is to move to a complex where smoking isn't allowed at all, and hope there isn't a smoker next door who sits out on the patio smoking all the time.

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March 9, 2010 Flag
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The owners downstairs from me smoke. It seems like it is only on the weekends when I can smell the smoke in my house because that's when all of his friends are over and they all smoke like crazy. The smell is so strong, but only on the weekends. Will this smell stay in my house if its only on the weekends?

By Tracy from Berwyn, IL

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March 13, 20100 found this helpful

It will stay in any surface from any time it is next door to you. If you have a good relationship with the neighbors, you can request that they smoke outside. They will thank you once it's time for them to leave, as their place will be much easier to clean.

If you can not get them to do that, you may want to speak to the manager. They can sometimes help, but if the apt. is not "non-smoking", they can't force the issue. Having houseplants helps to create clean oxygen for your home.

I sure hope you succeed in getting some help. That stuff is insidious. If you dampen a paper towel, and wipe down the glass front of a frame, and it's yellow or brown, then the actual nicotine has permeated your home.

It's one thing for them to smoke in their home, but make sure you can protect yourself in yours. You have that right and if you can't get anyone to help, it's worth a move to a non-smoking complex with a manager who does their job.

Good Luck!

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Anonymous Flag
March 13, 20100 found this helpful

I feel so badly for you that it's the owners that live downstairs from you :-( Perhaps you could ask if they wouldn't mind having people, including themselves if they smoke, smoke outside because the smoke is coming in to your apartment and is not good for your health and that the smell is starting to be on your belongings which, yes indeed, probably is if you can smell it!

If they don't take you seriously and you are on a month to month rental agreement I would give proper notice and move. If you're on a long term lease you can call the health department and see if there's anything they can do to help you. Maybe they can give them a citation of some sort where they have to do something to the premises to keep the smoke from filtering in to your apartment. If you do complain to the health department please don't worry about repercussions because you are protected under the law from them seeking revenge!

Also, keep notes with dates and times of who you talked to and what was said and copies of any letters, notices, etc. and keep them in a safe place where the landlords can't sneak in to find them! Good luck to you and please let us know what you do and find out and the outcome :-)

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May 3, 20100 found this helpful

I feel your pain. I had smokers who lived below me too, thankfully they've moved. What I did was I put baking soda boxes in my cabinets, I even put some boxes in the hallway, and invested in an air purifier.

If they only smoke on the weekend, the smell will subside by weeks end, but a lot of good that does you.

You could ask them to smoke outside, but then you wouldn't want to open your windows!

I also want to strongly suggest that you get a few good fire alarms AND fire extinguisher. I've lived in my apartment complex for 10 years now and so far there have been three smoking related fires!

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March 9, 20140 found this helpful

I just moved in to my apartment month ago. The guy next to my door smokes cigarette every second and the smoke comes through vent and the plumbing hole under the sink. I talked to my apartment manager. She is a smoker too. She never responds. I am still waiting response. I have sinus. I always have to argue and confront them to get things fixed, but this one I feel like I am about to give up. When I think about that I have a year to stay in my apartment I feel sick already. Please help me on what to do.

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Anonymous Flag
April 17, 20160 found this helpful

May 6, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Is there any "green" way to get rid of cigarette smoke coming out of an air conditioner vent? I live in an upstairs apt. and person below smokes and it comes thru my AC vents and I have serious sensitivity to it. I've sprayed with vinegar, used lemons, but nothing seems to help.

Rhonda from River Ridge, LA

May 8, 20070 found this helpful

I use electric air cleaners that I bought in the grocery store. They cost about $20 but really clean my air. The other thing would be to try to get a filter, like hepa filters and tape it onto your vents. i guess you live in a house apartment and your thermostat is all in one. i am sure they could put another air conditioner unit in for your apartment too.

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May 10, 20070 found this helpful

I lived over a 90 year old chain smoker last year and had to get a room air cleaner to deal with the smoke/smell.

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June 18, 20080 found this helpful

hi, i bought some wonder wafers on ebay, they smell pretty good, they must be new out. give um a try.!!!

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August 9, 20080 found this helpful

I've been having the same problem, with smoke from a downstairs apt. coming thru the A/C vent and into my apt.

The only thing I could figure out to do was to get a portable room A/C and vent it out a sliding glass door in my living room, and not use the building's A/C or you could get a window A/C.

I'm still left with clothing, bedding, carpets and walls that smell. Will try some of the suggestions I've read here.

This has made me incredibly ill and more chemically sensitive to other odors. I pray for people who smoke as I know that part of my own problem is that I used to be a smoker, and now have some COPD (emphysema).

Smoke affects children (as well as adults) in drastic ways: Upper respiratory emergencies (like "croup"), hyperactivity and attention (focusing) problems, irritability and even rage attacks, anxiety, depression, etc., are among but a few of the possible problems.

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August 26, 20080 found this helpful
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