The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
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Secondhand Smoke Travels Really FAR

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Carrigon, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    Alot of people at my building smoke outside, and even though I'm on the sixth floor, it comes right in my window. I opened the window just to get some fresh air, immediately started to get an asthma attack, then I smelled the smoke and my eyes are burning. They're all down there, smoking away again.

    When I moved into this building, I was told it was a non smoking building. But they are allowed to smoke in front of it, and inside their apartments. Well, the smoke doesn't just stay right where they are. The second they open their apartment door, it goes all over, plus we have connecting vents in the bathrooms for heating, so it can come in there. Basically, there is no place to really go in here to be totally smoke free.

    One of my neighbors smokes and every time he opens his apartment door, I smell the smoke in my hallway and my bedroom. No amount of complaining to management does any good. I was told he is allowed to smoke in his apartment. It's horrible.

    I really wish they would make smoking one hundred percent illegal everywhere because it's a forced poison on us. We do not choose to breathe in secondhand smoke. We do not choose to have our eyes burn from it or our clothing and rooms to smell from it. It is forced on us. And there is no place to really get away from it. It's not right.

    When my mother was alive, it was one of the few things we always fought over because she was a smoker. She'd always say she had a right to smoke and it was her body. Well, NO, it's not. Not when you force that poison on other people. When I first got sick and she would take me to doctors, we'd be in the car and she would keep smoking, and I would beg her to stop because it was making me worse. She didn't. She'd get nasty and tell me to go by myself when she knew I was way too sick to drive. At that time, I was so sick that I could barely move. Even years later, when I got diagnosed with asthma and the doctor said no one should be smoking around me, that still didn't stop her. Just no regard for other people's health whatsoever when it came to her smoking.

    So there's my rant for today. I hate secondhand smoke.
  2. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

    Olympic Peninsula, Washington
    Hi Carrigon,
    That sounds AWFUL! I'm in WA where people can't smoke in bars anymore and I think pretty recently something was passed so that a smoker has to be 25 ft. from a building. I just saw a bit on the news that there is consideration of a law to ban smoking in private homes too. I would imagine it all has to do with the very specific connection between childhood asthma and smoke. So much is being found about it, even that women who live with a smoker are more likely to get reproductive cancers because the smoke travels through clothing and sets in fabric particles. I'm sorry to hear that things are not moving as quickly in PA; I think I just assumed whatever was happening here was happening nationwide.

    You should absolutely be able to make a case for your concerns because of the shared vents and hallways. Is your landlord really required to do nothing? Even if your state does nothing, there is so much federal research that it's absurd to think that there isn't some agency whose job it is to advocate about this.

    I had a similar experience growing up with my own mother and it's clear that both smoking is extraordinarily addictive and also that some people have very little interest in how their behaviors impact others.

    So, I second your rant!
  3. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

    Southern USA
    Sorry you have to deal with that. I never had to be bothered by it, except when eating out etc before the laws finally changed where people can go out and not have it around. It has made me sick even in childhood, just being near the toxins in smoke, perfume, etc. Do you have an air cleaner in your house? Might help. Too bad it travels like that, but it sure does.
  4. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member


    Thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) you should be able to legally demand reasonable accomodation for a smoke-free environment due to your asthma, because your appartment complex is a place of public lodging, which is covered by the ADA.

    Here is a link to an article specifically on how the ADA can protect you from secondhand smoke. Here's an exercpt:

    So for example, if people are smoking just outside the entrance to the building, you obviously either cannot get in or have great difficulty getting in or out, correct? Also with people smoking under your window, or in apartment units close to yours. Reasonable accommodation might look something like management putting up signs to not smoke within 25 feet of the building at all (and enforcing it), making the building a non-smoking building, offering you the chance to move to another unit that's not nearby smoker's units, etc. Of course htat would be a huge hassle. The easies tthing would be to make the entire building including the area around it non-smoking, but I get the feeling it'd take some serious arm-twisting to get them to do that.

    They are not allowed to do this to you. It's considered descrimination based on your disability. The ADA was made specifically to keep these things from happening, and to take care of the matter if it is happening.

    Unfortunately I don't know how you should proceed from here. It seems that writing a letter to management and sending it to them in the mail (so that they can't say they didn't get it) would be a good idea, explaining your problems in a straightforward manner and respectfully but firmly stating that you require reasonable accommodation under hte Americans With Disabilities Act. That should at least get their attention, once they realize you know their rights they might give in a little, but don't settle for anything less than what your condition requires. THe law is on your side; please stand up for yourself and use it! In doing so you also stand up for others in similar situations.
  5. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    I wish that were the case here, but it's a HUD public housing building and they make their own rules and violate ours all the time. We have no right to privacy. They do all kinds of inspections here and they will come in and use their key if you don't comply. You wouldn't believe how much they violate your rights here. I even had a maintenance guy come in while I was in bed.

    The only one who seems to have any rights is my druggie neighbor. He can do no wrong. He went after another tenant with a knife, they let him come right home after only a few days in jail. He does drugs and has drug parties. He blasts his stereo any time he feels like it. No amount of going down to the office has done any good. They did try to evict him, but he's appealing it, and I think he'll win because he seems to be above the law. My right to live in quiet, peace and safety means nothing here.

    I cannot move, I don't have any money left to move with. I am stuck here. I can't afford anyplace else and it takes a year to get another apartment like this one, if you are lucky. They have me trapped. And they know it. Everyone here is. We're all too poor to move and get in too little in SS to go anywhere. So they make their own rules. That is why no one here protests much, we can't. We have no place else to go. And this is supposed to be the US, land of the free, but it's not, not when you live in a government run apartment.
  6. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    Sorry to hear of your situation. I don't understand how they allow smoking in a non-smoking building?! Why do they call it a non-smoking building? I believe this is what you are saying?

    Could you get a Free "Public" attorney to take up your cause? Or will they not touch this?

    I have a similar issue at work, yeah I can still work, I have complained alot also, and their accommadation is that I need to "work around others" by this I mean I need to avoid the smokers which means an inconvenience to me, with my limited energy! I don't want to make smokers feel like lepers, but this is ridiculous!

    Have you heard of 3rd hand smoke?
  7. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune Senior Member

    NorthEastern USA
    I drove my mom to radiation therapy for lung cancer, she smoked in my car along the drive. Yes, I did have a rule, no smoking in my house or car. That day, I did not put up a fight. She would have ignored my protests anyway. She did not live long after that.

    When I was about 20......(45 years ago) I remember going to a night spot for New Year's Eve and having tears flow down my face from the smoke.....certainly it is better now.

    Carrigon, certainly your situation is NOT good, I am so sorry. I did see a blurb on tv, did not listen though at the time as I was occupied with something else, but it was new legislation prohibiting residents from smoking on their balconies or near the doorways of all buildings....I don't know where this was; however, in your case, the residents are not abiding by the rules anyway.....


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