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Apartment Complex Smoking
updated: Jan 15, 2014, 7:54 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I live in a large apartment complex. This complex has smoking bench located near apartment playground, pool, and apartments. The property manager won't move the bench stating it 500 feet from building. But the smoke filters into apartments and children are always near.. Can't county or public health do something?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 485824 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:11 PM

You can be proactive and move out. Or you can close your window.


 COMMENT 485825 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:12 PM

Move it yourself in the middle of the night.


 COMMENT 485830 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:14 PM

I rent a house, and all of my neighbors smoke....they are definitely not 500 feet away from me, and they are on their own property..so I just have to deal with it...my guess is that you must deal with it too. Smokers like to smoke outdoors where their smoke impacts people they dont even live with...its an entitlement thing. I am guessing that the apartment manager is also a smoker....


 COMMENT 485837 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:24 PM

Move to a place where there are no cars, no smokers and no forest fires allowed.


 COMMENT 485841 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:30 PM

Tell the manager you want a different apartment far away from the bench. Have a doctor say he concurs on a letter stating that any smoke is dangerous.


 COMMENT 485845 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:37 PM

It's for sure better than them smoking inside their apartments with their children inside.... and for parents that smoke it makes it so that they can keep an eye on their children while they play, as opposed to the children playing unattended and getting up to no good. It's a tough one, I used to smoke and if someone told me that my smoke was going into their house I would feel bad and not smoke there, unless of course that is the only place I could do it while my kids were playing. As a non-smoker I really don't like the smell of cigarettes, didn't before but hard to complain about it... Catch 22


 COMMENT 485852 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 08:47 PM

Join them? I am sure they are nice people if you have a chat with them. Bring some Wild Turkey or Thunderbird with you as a peace offering.


 COMMENT 485871P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-15 11:02 PM

been there...I started smoking again... =(


 COMMENT 485883 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 06:36 AM

Sounds like Willow Springs? If so, the smoking bench is going to be moved in the next month or so :).


 COMMENT 485892 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 06:56 AM

If the bench is really 500' or even 50' away from the buildings, not much you can (or should) do about it. I don't appreciate the smell much myself, but unless you enact a UCSB styled prohibition you will always have some sort of incidental contact with smoke odors in your life, at least occasionally.

Beats the situation when I was a kid when more people smoked, they smoked wherever and whenever they wanted, and on top of it cars, buses and motorcycles smoked as well - they even still allowed cheap crappy little European cars with two stroke engines that emitted blue plumes as they went down the road and cigarettes in theaters, buses and airplanes. Compromise a little and love your neighbors even if its through gritted teeth some days.


 COMMENT 485897 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 07:26 AM

I couldn't find the actual setback requirements. But I'm sure that some CA state law would back your request if you want to get aggressive about it.


 COMMENT 485903 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 07:41 AM

Move. You can probably break your lease due to environmental hazards/concerns.


 COMMENT 485904 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 07:49 AM

500ft = one and a half football fields
No way that smoke can be filtering into apartments at that distance, No way.


 COMMENT 485906 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 07:56 AM

Burn the bench


 COMMENT 485910 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:00 AM

Why does an apartment complex provide smoking benches? I've not heard of this. This is a sincere question.


 COMMENT 485922P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:35 AM

Irresponsible apartment management, and lousy owners. Unless it's a smokers-only complex, then the only safe option is no smoking on the property, period. Evolution is slow, and getting rid of the pathology of smoking around kids will take a while. Notify management, notify owner, note habitability and health. If things don't change and you have to move, hit them up for costs.


 COMMENT 485923P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:36 AM

Move the smoker.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:40 AM

I bet they provide smoking benches because they have a rule against smoking in the apartments; they can keep it all in one place. With all our pollution from cars and trucks, my guess is the air isn't pure anywhere.


 COMMENT 485926 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:43 AM

One downtown block away, you can smell a smoker one block away! 500ft is a long way. I'd be happy to live in a complex with that much open space


 COMMENT 485929 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:46 AM

Unless the entire complex has a no-outdoor-smoking-except-in-designated-area rule (which is highly doubtful), there is nothing you can do, short of encouraging the adoption of such a rule.

And yes...500ft??? I'll assume you meant 50ft, because there isn't an apartment complex in the entire county that has that much open space.


 COMMENT 485932 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 08:52 AM

You have rights to enjoy the property own or rent, free of influences that endanger your health. Contact a lawyer and serve the landlord with a letter. Take names or apartment numbers of the smokers, and takes pictures of the activity. A letter from your doctor would also support your case.

Other non-smoking tenants will support your case, particularly those with asthma or those with children.

If any retaliation occurs, you have additional legal rights as a whistle-blower. You have the right to breathe clean air. Insist on it.


 COMMENT 485940 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:12 AM

Put out bread scraps to feed the pigeons. It will take a while but soon a flock will come to eat. Then put the bread scraps on the bench. The pigeon poop will be a deterrent.


 COMMENT 485941 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:12 AM

There is a newer law that says an apartment complex can bad smoking indoors if they provide a place to smoke out doors. They could evict all smokers with out listing a cause (not required) but that would probably have you up in arms as well.

Sounds like this complex put a bench at a point that the smokers in the complex can use and I am sure complain ALL the time about having to walk all that distance to smoke. If they smoke inside you will complain, they smoke outside a great distance away and you complain. Just what do you think the complex should LEGALLY do?


 COMMENT 485943 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:15 AM

When did they make smoking illegal? There are designated smoking areas everywhere. They have to be posted as such. You will have to post signs for all other things legal and illegal too. You might find a sign ordinance of too many signs then.


 COMMENT 485949 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:25 AM

Oy. By 932's logic, I should take pictures of how close my apartment is to the street, where dangerous fumes from cars waft into my windows all day. Cars are deadly! One could easily careen into my walls! I should get a lawyer and sue him to move his residence further away from the street.

There is nothing wrong with an adult smoker smoking the cigarettes he has purchased in an area designated for smoking within a complex where he pays probably a good sum of money to live. A person's preference to not smell smells does not trump another person's right to smoke. Smoking is not illegal. Sorry. If neighboring activities bug you that much, save your pennies for a private island.


 COMMENT 485959 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:42 AM

Build your own hut on your own property.


 COMMENT 485964P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 09:57 AM

Irresponsible apartment management, lousy owners, suicidal neighbors. There's no such thing as benign second-hand cigarette smoke. If you smell it, there's a problem. The tobacco industry knows that, but remains utterly shameless. Evolution is slow, and getting rid of the pathology of cigarette smoking, especially around kids, will take a while to phase out. Formally notify management, notify owner; note habitability and health. If things don't change and you have to move, hit them up for costs and damages.


 COMMENT 485971 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 10:18 AM

The State should require catalytic converters on cigarettes, like they do for cars, or a hazmat suit that encloses the smoker's head. Just don't exhaust your toxins into the air.


 COMMENT 485981 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 10:33 AM

The tobacco companies are on even shakier moral grounds than crack dealers. They market a lethal product containing one of the most toxic and addictive substances known to science - targeting kids as well - knowing that their products kill almost half a million Americans *every year*, while jacking up the cost of medical insurance for everyone.

Of course, our topsy turvy world now regards (big) corporations as "individuals" with the same rights as "people", but without the requirement of "personal responsibility". If there was any justice in the world, the cost of the damage should be borne by these rogue companies. Hit them where it hurts - their bottom lines.


 COMMENT 485995 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 10:49 AM

Why is smoking not illegal yet? Doesn't make sense to me.


 COMMENT 486001 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 10:57 AM

McDonalds sell those "Big Mac's" that cause heart disease. Why aren't they illegal too? Make everything illegal that affects people in a negative manner is.. alcohol, cigs, fast fatty food, cars and motor cycles, breathing the air etc...


 COMMENT 486005 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 11:01 AM

By 949's "logic," as long as you're an adult and pay for it, you can pollute anything anywhere as long as you can afford to pay rent. But the law thinks differently.

The law has in place restrictions on gross polluters driving cars -- they have purchased -- on streets designated for driving -- within a city -- regardless if they pay a good sum of money to live.

Smoking is restricted in hospitals, schools, beaches, restaurants and in time -- all public areas. Major property management firms restrict smoking as well. Private parties may have to sue tobacco producers and tobacco users for all the negative extranalities they create.

It's time tobacco addicts find another passifier for this disgusting and unhealthy habit.


 COMMENT 486010 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 11:11 AM

Step 1. Post a concern on Edhat.

Step 2. Some Edhatters compare your concern to a major calamity and tell you your concern is too insignificant for you to worry about.

Step 3. Other Edhatters urge you to get a lawyer and sue, like there are lawyers on every street corner anxious to file a case for a reasonable fee.

Step 4. Some commenters actually provide some reasonable and helpful advice, if you ever read it and aren't too discouraged by the other commenters.

And so it goes.


 COMMENT 486013 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 11:21 AM

005 - In this particular case, smoking is permitted in designated areas. If you don't like the existence of smoking at all, take it up with your elected officials, etc and by all means, sue those tobacco makers and private tobacco users!

Let us know how that works out.


 COMMENT 486021 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 11:45 AM

Close your window. Or Move. Smoking is not illegal. Of course, love the post advising to take legal action. That is what our society has come to. Learn to live and let live. Life is full of inconveniences and it's sad that people who want to smoke can't.


 COMMENT 486024 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 11:59 AM

I have a similar problem where I live. I was going to move the the "butt-catcher" where they all congregate to smoke, which happens to be right next to the stairs... Thing was bolted to the ground. I have sent emails to the landlord but no go. They should have taken into consideration the direction of wind which usually comes from the ocean. Whenever someone smokes, it blows into my apartment and gives me a headache! Some of them throw their butt's in the communal bbq grill, I really like that...
At night, post a small letter on the bench or area where they smoke and tell them how it affects you. Provide an alternative location for them to smoke. I know a lady who is on an oxygen tank now and still smokes, really sad. Yes, people have the right to give themselves a slow death, but it shouldn't be affecting the health of others!


 COMMENT 486036 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 12:30 PM

I live in a pretty large apartment complex downtown which became smoke free a couple of years ago. The entire property. Now the smokers have to go out to the curb. I love it!


 COMMENT 486067 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 01:37 PM

I have lived in a 25 unit building in Goleta for about 12 years. I love our property manager - the first page of the rental app. says this is a non-smoking property. There is not even a single ash tray anywhere. If you want to smoke, you had better be far enough down the street where she can't see you. I appreciate her stance. Smoking is gross and dangerous. It's a glimmer of hope in the stank ghetto hood that I live in.


 COMMENT 486076P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 01:46 PM

"Live and let live" doesn't apply to cigarette smoke. It's live - for a while - and choose to cause those who have to breathe the fumes to lose some fraction of their lives. Only the most rabid smoking addicts (and conscienceless tobacco investors) still argue that it is not harmful; the debate is now about how much life the assault by cigarette costs bystanders. Too many smokers gamble with others' health as well as their own.


 COMMENT 486087 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 02:11 PM

I am an extremely conscientious smoker, especially at our townhouse. I always look to see which way the wind is blowing so as to minimize the amount of smoke blowing towards others windows. I never throw butts on the ground. So when I am confronted by a crazed, anal retentive anti-smoking nazi, it yanks me raw. My only retort to these lunatics is to affirm that in the end, I will smoke wherever and whenever I want and there isn't a damn thing they can do about it.


 COMMENT 486089 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 02:14 PM

Suck it up and stop complaining, close your window, move to a desert (or secluded mountain), start smoking, get nose plugs, etc.. There are a lot of solutions, and it makes it easier since you are the problem, mind your own business


 COMMENT 486116 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 03:38 PM

To OP: I have a similar problem and have found that shutting windows does not work, because as science has proven, smoke particles are so small they come through the cracks etc. But I bought weather stripping material for my door jams and that has helped keep smoke out of my house. Of course this doesn't help when its a hot day and you try to open a door to get a breath of air and before you can "entomb" yourself in your apartment the smoke is already in. Not sure any arm of government or law would readily help you. Science has proven smoke--from cigarettes or other burning--causes damage to everyone's lungs--and to the sensitive, could even kill. Can't understand why some posters seem so angry about their rights to smoke, when one would hope they'd be concerned about harming other human beings.


 COMMENT 486130 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 04:28 PM

116 - I beg to differ with you. Scientific tests have shown that very-nearby second hand smoke is harmful. No one has ever done a test on smoke that has drifted 50 feet into your house. I'll agree that the smoke can smell bad, but I totally disagree that it is any more harmful that standard fumes that way in from a typical parking lot.

People flip out, claiming that if they simply smell smoke then that means someone is trying to kill them. I say then those people better not ever barbecue or sit near a campfire, because they are much more harmful then a miniscule amount of cigarette smoke.


 COMMENT 486140P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 04:44 PM

Be happy the smokers are smoking. Think how nutty your hood would be if the smokers couldn't smoke. It's all a balancing act although I pefer living in a non-smoking hood to begin with. Much nicer and considerate neighbors.


 COMMENT 486161 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 06:02 PM

995 - When something is banned, the principles of capitalism and the free market take hold and try to fill the resulting void. Prohibition of alcohol (in the 1920s), and the current blanket ban on various drugs - enriches organized crime, the prison industrial complex, and corrupt elements within the Justice Department and law enforcement.

Perhaps the tobacco lobby has a history of being financially powerful enough in Washington DC to prevent prohibition of one of the most dangerous substances on the market.


 COMMENT 486170 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-16 06:29 PM

Lets get one thing clear, Second Hand Smoke at ANY distance is harmful. Have you heard of THIRD HAND SMOKE? The mere stench of tobacco on someones body or in a car is harmful!


 COMMENT 486430 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-17 02:23 PM

Several years ago, we had a couple move in next door who smoked morning to night outside on their patio (they didn't work), and it wafted up and filled our home, even with the windows closed. Everything in the home began to smell of stale smoke including clothes, furniture, even our dog's fur.

My husband's latent asthma reactivated and he started to have difficulty breathing at night, sucking in air desperately to get oxygen. I was ready for him to go to disabled status so that we could get a handle on the situation after our pleas to desist went ignored. And no, we couldn't easily "just move," because we own our home. Fortunately for us, they moved out shortly after.

It's a nuisance at best and a health hazard at worst, especially for those with pulmonary disorders, or other vulnerable populations. It's easy to glibly say "live and let live," but that just doesn't work sometimes.


 COMMENT 487170 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-19 05:00 PM

Quit being a baby, close your window. He/she is exercising his/her right to smoke it a designated area.


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