Of U.S. adults, 15.1% are smokers, but 16% to 33% have a smell sensitivity for which smoke can be one of the triggers. With a growing divide between smokers and nonsmokers, apartment living can be at the crux of the debate.
E-cigarettes are a newcomer to the conversations about smoking, and legislation concerning them is handled differently in different locations. Here’s what we know about cigarettes and e-cigarettes in apartments, and we’ll also give you some tips for good neighborly relations.
Does smoking make you think of the icon James Dean? Or maybe you think of the modern update when Justin Bieber posted a black-and-white photo to Instagram that was inspired by Dean’s classic look.
Even though smoking cigarettes may make you think of these coolness icons, many cities and states prohibit renters from smoking in multifamily buildings because secondhand smoke is a recognized health hazard.
The trend is moving rapidly towards banning smoking in multifamily housing units. Between 2011 and 2012, the CDC reported that 36.8% of nonsmokers who lived in rental housing were exposed to secondhand smoke. Consequently, in February 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development banned smoking in all public housing residences, affecting a total of 1.2 million households.
With smokers accounting for 15.1% of U.S. adults and many property managers banning it, smokers may have limited options when searching for apartment rentals.
What you can do:
- When apartment hunting, search for a smoking-friendly building or a nonsmoking building, depending on your preference.
- Before signing a lease, make sure both the property manager and renter are in agreement over the rules because it’s much easier to hash something out before you move in than after.
E-cigarettes are still relatively new on the scene. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics completed a major study of e-cigarettes in 2014, in which it found that 12.6% of all U.S. adults have tried an e-cigarette and 3.7% use them daily. The surgeon general stated that in young adults, the use of e-cigarettes surpassed traditional tobacco products in 2014.
Laws for using e-cigarettes in apartments vary wildly. In one instance, a New York City law says e-cigarettes are prohibited in all places where smoking is prohibited. However, in Minnesota, the state classifies e-cigarettes in the opposite way — ruling that the Clean Indoor Air Act does not apply to e-cigarettes, and the two forms of smoking should be treated separately.
Even though the surgeon general’s 2016 report recommended that all Clean Indoor Air policies be updated to include e-cigarettes, the new U.S. HUD law does not ban e-cigarette use like it does ban traditional cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs.
What you can do:
- Talk with your property manager about whether e-cigarettes are included in the smoking policy.
- Even though vaping is not the same as smoking, nobody wants to get kicked out of their apartment, and lawyers can be expensive.
The majority of renters, 52%, live in multifamily buildings. Whatever the amenities you’re seeking in an apartment, good neighborly relations affects your quality of life.
While we all want to act independently inside our apartments, it’s important to be considerate of the neighbors. Introduce yourself and talk openly with your neighbors to make sure any discord does not escalate into a feud.
And for property managers who are concerned about smoke damage, e-cigarettes may be a good option. Whereas the smell of cigarette smoke can linger, the vapor and any smell from e-cigarettes disappears into the air within minutes.
What you can do:
- When you light up, use a charcoal air filter or crack a window.
- Pay attention to air currents and indoor air vents so scents from your apartment aren’t vented directly into your neighbor’s.
- The EPA says some air cleaners may be effective at particulate removal.
- Baking soda absorbs smells. Try sprinkling it on the carpet, letting it sit for a few minutes and then vacuuming it up. Or in a Crock-Pot, mix a few tablespoons of baking soda in water, then set it to low with the lid off.
- The NASA Clean Air Study found that indoor air quality is improved by certain houseplants, such as florist’s chrysanthemum, peace lily and aloe vera.
Learn more tips and stay up to date on trends by following our Apartment Living blog.