Need Help/Advice from Smokers

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    we just moved into apartments recently. It seems we are the only tenants in our building who don't smoke. There is an entryway with stairwells in the front and in the back of the apartmetns that is indoors. I know we are the newcomers, but the smoking in these common areas means that smoke gets itno our home. My children are very very sensitive to smoke and it is causing real health problems.

    I did put a sign on each door asking for people to not smoke inside because my kids have asthma and they get sick from smoke, but it hasn't changed anything. I don't want to be a problem neighbor, but I cannot tolerate a home filled with smoke. I was hoping to be able to work this out with-o having to go figure out what the smoking laws are and with-o brnging mgmt into it, but I don't know what else to do.

    Should I go knock on the neighbors' doors and say "Please don't smoke in the hallway/stairs anymore because it makes my kids sick." or should I just let mgmt handle it or what?

    husband is installing weather stripping around the doors and draft stop thingies under them to help keep the smoke out, but it still comes in if we open the doors.

    what is the best way to handle this?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Truthfully I think you need to look for a new building. Quitting smoking, or even forcing yourself to relocate when you smoke, is much more difficult than non-smokers can grasp. I tried and tried over the years to quit with-o success. Truly I am not wimpy by nature and I was shocked how difficult it was. I was able to quit seventeen years ago, and it took over a year for me to stabilize. Fifteen years with-o a cigarette and I smoked ONE. Whammo! I quit last January and ever single day I want to smoke "just one". Not possible. Furthermore, my husband who truly is a fine and caring man he is back to smoking this month even though he knows it is seriously dangerous for my health and he really does love me. He can't help it.

    So...I'm not being funny when I say start looking. Even very nice people if they are addicted are not going to change their life to accomodate yours. I'm really sorry but I do believe every word I've typed. Hugs DDD

    PS: I quit 17 years ago because difficult child#1 had asthma and the second hand smoke was dangerous for him even tho I went to the far corners of the screened porch or out on the sidewalk. I do understand.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I quit back in January but... If you were to ask me not to smoke in my own home, I'd have had some choice words for you. Maybe not to your face, but... It is their home, too.

    HEPA filter air cleaners help... Some.

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Step...didn't you quit because of Bean? That is not likely to have happened if it were a new neighbor. Sigh. DDD
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Exactly my point... If I'd been in a nice mood I'd have pointed out it was my home.

    And... I was the kind of smoker who, when my nonsmoker friends rode in my car, I'd abstain. But... I do think an air cleaner, the weatherstripping etc... Should help.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i am not asking them to not smoke in their own apartments. We are not getting smoke from the other apartments. The problem is smoking in the common hallways, which we were told by the owner was not allowed (but that is not enforced at this time). Heck, if they would just pick one vestibule/stairway to smoke in, we would seal the door and only use the other one except in severe emergencies.

    I would NEVER ask them to not smoke in their own apartments. I honestly think that outlawing smoking in restaurants that do not cater to kids is wrong. They should either provide good ventilation to the outside from the smoking area or they should put sign up that says that the place is 100% smoking. Adults should be able to make that choice. kids? Another story and if you cater to kids/families, then I am all for no smoking.

    From what I have read and been told by the cops, the state smoking laws CAN apply to this situation and make it illegal to smoke in teh common indoor areas. I am not 100% sure that this is correct, and I would vastly prefer to NOT be on those terms with the neighbors, Know what I mean??

    I am hoping the weatherstripping will be a big help, as will sealing under the door with a draft stop thingy.

    Moving owuld be nice but is almost impossible. Not enough $$ and not enough places to rent in a college town right after school has started.

    Thank you for your insight. It IS appreciated and I will think about it before we make any complaints to the landlord or the police.
  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I definitely would not get the police involved. Even as a last resort. Living with secondhand smoke is a lot more preferable than living with neighbors who hate you.

    I think I would bake a batch of cookies, put it in a nice container with a "hi, I am your new neighbor" note with your name and phone number. And then i would knock on the doors of the people who smoke. And I would give them the goodies, chit chat for a bit - ask them about themselves, ask for local recommendation for a dry cleaner or bakery, whatever and do the whole "looking forward to getting to know you shtick..." and then, right before you say goodbye, I would "oh by the way, would you mind not smoking in the hallway? LL assured me there was no smoking in public spaces which is important to me because my kids have asthma and smoke really aggravates it. I hate to even ask you and I hope you won't take it the wrong way...I have nothing against smoking and it's just the hallway and only because my kids have asthma" with a mega watt smile....

    oh - and I would buy a fan and aim it at your door - so when you open it - it is blowing the air away from the door.
    (disclaimer - not a smoker)
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This happens at my daughters apartment building. It is awful. Why do it outside of your own place unless you smoke outside? Oh maybe they dont want THEIR apartment to smell......

    No advice, but i understand.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Ahhhhhh. I thought it was their apartments. Sigh... In this case, I would say asking nicely is about all you can do...:sigh:
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If the landlord indicated that there isn't "supposed" to be smoking in the common areas, but it isn't enforced... AND really your bottom line is to get one exit door area to be smoke-free... I'm wondering if there is some combination between the goodies-and-chat and possibly something similar with the landlord? As in, you want to be as reasonable and accommodating as possible, and are wondering if maybe the others could give "an inch" (as in, "an exit door")?

    (my parents were landlords...)
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmm. I lived in apartments for quite some years. I can say I ever recall smoking in the entry/common area of the building. I can't speak for husband but don't remember him doing so, and all these years later can't recall if I ever noticed anyone else . Although I know people who smoke so frequently that one is nearly always hanging from their mouth or in their, maybe it's this type you're dealing with, or as someone said, they're smoking out there so as not to smell up their own place.

    I think I'd try signorina's approach. I'd definitely keep the police out of it, and do my utter best to keep the landlord / apartment manager out of it as ticked off neighbors that close can make life a living hades. I also like the idea of using a small fan to blow air out of the door when it's open, that might help somewhat.

    It might actually be that whoever is smoking in the entry / common area is doing so because someone in their household has an issue with the smoke too, they might have believed they're smoking there wasn't bothering others. So they may not mind moving to another area.

    I hope you can work it out so there are no real problems.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im gonna tell you as a smoker our nerves are already about as frayed as we can take them. I know if one more person tells me where I can smoke Im probably going to put my cigarette out in a place that person isnt going to enjoy very much. After building this country on the back of tobacco now they want to just tell it to all go away. Blah.

    Unless you want every neighbor to hate you and figure out how to make your life miserable, dont go to the police or the landlord. I think the fan is a good idea along with a very good air purifier. Another thing you might want to consider is those auto closing screen doors you can get at walmart. It looks like a regular screen door but has a slit down the middle so that as soon as a person slips through it, it closes immediately. I would also get a can of that rubber stuff that you can spray on it to make it completely rubberized so nothing gets through. Liquid Rubber I think its called. That should stop a great deal of the smoke from entering your apartment. The air purifier works very well. I worked in a long office about 15 x 40 long and we had 3 people in that office with no windows. 2 of us smoked. Both of us had those smokeless ashtrays but they didnt work very well. We had a mid-sized air purifier that moved the air about once every hour and it added negative ions to the air. In reality you couldnt smell smoke much at all unless you were in there when one of us was actively smoking.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, the way that you feel is why I wrote this post. I don't want the neighbors to feel chased or that I am telling them what to do in their own homes. They DO stand in the stairways to smoke though and I have no clue as to why. There is a little metal pail that is almost overflowing with buttz sitting in the rear stairwell though. Another neighbor has claimed that for his storage also, so he has bags of clothing, baby gear like exersaucers and strollers there and it can be a challenge to get past the smokers and the stuff sometimes.

    The fan is a great idea, but this smoke comes in even if we haven't opened the door at all. I have lived in apartments for years and have never had this issue or had neighbors who smoked in ndoor common areas. I will try talking to them, but honestly, if that doesn't work I won't allow my kids' health to be impacted just to keep from upsetting the neighbors. The neighbors are not that important to me.

    I very much appreciate your insight and advice, and will do my very best to work this out in a friendly way so that it is just between neighbors. We are already spending our $$ on weatherstripping and other things to make it harder for the smoke to get in. We don't open our windows often because the pollen makes thank you quite sick, and honestly, I don't feel it is asking a lot to ask people to not smoke by our doorway. It just isn't that much to ask given the enormous impact asthma attacks have on people.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    The "storage area" is a safety hazard... Perhaps you could discuss this with the landlord.

    Also, many people put out welcome mats, etc. even in apartments... How about a cute sign that says, "No smoking please"? Anyone complains, it's "just so people don't come in and smoke" but honestly unless provoked most smokers are pretty nice about it.
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I rarely have an issue if someone asks me not to smoke, unless like someone else said, it's in my own house. (except with husband after the heart attack and Travis and I went outside)

    Nichole, Travis, the grandkids and I were at an outside event that had a crowd that sat together. A woman tapped me on the shoulder when I'd lit up (this was outside, total open air, she was not sitting that close) and asked if I'd please not smoke and motioned to her son. I didn't have a problem with it until I realized there were like 6 other people sitting closer to her than I was smoking and she had not asked a single one if they'd mind not smoking. They were all male. Once I realized that, I lit up and dared her to ask me again. Now I'd been polite and was going to accommodate her, but it also irked me because in that setting she could've easily got up and moved away from the smoke entirely. (we were there first)

    If your neighbors are just standing in the hallway smoking, then it's so their not smoking in their apartments for whatever reason. I'm guessing they'll not mind finding a spot to move to so that you don't have it coming into the apartment. (I thought you'd meant smoking while coming in or going out) That is a confined space and the smoke is going to accumulate into a fog that reeks. ick.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The "cigarette bucket" may be their Watercooler. Yikes. DDD
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Are they smoking there so they dont have to stand out in the rain or the cold? Lots of times there isnt an area with an overhang or someplace out of the wind where people can congregate with other smokers. Maybe what needs to happen is another door needs to be put up between a landing so that the smokers can go out one door and have a space just for them. Are there no balconies on these places? Or outside entrances?
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It isn't cold or rainy here. I have no idea why they are smoking there. It is a LOT more than just having a cigarette in hand or mouth as they come in or leave. The guy who lives upstairs told me that his kids have asthma and they are having the same problems we are. He thought the weatherstripping and draft stopper and fan ideas were good and he is going to try them also.

    I do have signs on our front and back doors asking people to not smoke in the common areas because my kids have asthma. I worded it as nicely as I could and made sure it was clear that it is a health thing and NOT just because we don't like smoke. I have never had neighbors who were this inconsiderate with their smoking. Not even when I lived in a complex in Austin where they ran a ton of drugs and illegal aliens through the place. I don't care if they smoke in their homes, but it is frustrating when it is in a common area.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Susie, are you sure there is NO WAY to move? I would probably have no choice but to move because I don't want to fight and I hate smoke. I can smell and taste it even when people are smoking outdoors so I make sure I walk far away even when people are being respectful and smoking outdoors. I found that some people, even asked nicely, do not take kindly to being told to please not smoke around me. I really don't think smokers understand the impact of the smoke...I used to be able to taste the smoke in restaurants that had smoking sections...I am glad they finally banned it in all restaurants out here. When my husband smoked (he had to do it outside) I could smell it on his clothes and couldn't get the smell out. I'm so glad he quit!

    But, frankly, I don't think you can fix this without making everyone else hate you. I always feel like smoke exposure is risky to kids and myself so I would probably do all I could, including move to an even less attractive place, if people did not smoke outside of their apartments. Especially if my kids still lived at home and had breathing problems, I'd maybe have to plan to wait six months, but I'd get out of there. I don't think people usually smoke outside of their apartment buildings. I think your place is the exception.

    I sure wish you luck. This is a difficult problem and I hope you can find a good answer for your family.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We just moved here less than a month ago. It was one of over two DOZEN that we applied to and it was the ONLY one we could realistically afford. We are rather stuck. There ARE smoking laws in my state and in my city and if I have to the police will be forced to issue citations each time they come out. Both the other tenants and the landlord can be cited and in cases where minors are affected the police are THRILLED to wrte these citations.

    I don't want to go there. I haven't met the tenants in one apt because they have really strange schedules, but if things don't change soon then I will not wait for a time I can tell they are awake. I will just knock loudly and wake them up or go to the landlord.

    We are seeing a real change using a fan and a rolled up towel at the bottom of the door. husband wasn't able to get the weatherstripping on before he had to leave for work today, but it will go up first thing in the morning.

    It will be very very very difficult to move at this point given all the stuff of the last few years (husband laid off, my medication bills, J's health, foreclosure, etc....). So we are going to make the best of this. Even if I have to choke someone with kindness or otherwise!