Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My neighbor's cigar smoke comes into my apartment. What can I do?

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Question:

I live in a smoke-free building, which suits me fine. However, my next door neighbor smokes cigars in his apartment and the odor permeates my wall into my apartment. What should I do? Signed, Non-Smoking Sally

Answer:

Dear Non-Smoking,

While some buildings that are smoke free in their common areas allow people to smoke in their own apartments, there are exceptions. You need to check your building’s rules about smoking—all NYC buildings are now required to have a policy—to see exactly what yours states. 

If it allows people to smoke in their apartments, there is little you can do. However, my building’s rules specifically state that if smoke infiltrates another apartment, it is not allowed.

The good news is that there are filters and purification mechanisms that can create a smoke-free environment. Your neighbor could be held responsible and made to buy one of these items. They are pricey but available on Amazon or at Bed Bath & Beyond. The key is to check the rules. If he is in violation, he either has to give up his cigars or buy one of these air filtration devices.

Some buildings are now going completely smoke free, which means nobody gets to smoke anywhere. Be careful what you wish for, however, because that might mean you would also have to give up that occasional joint you and your buddies smoke.

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.