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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

What can I do about secondhand smoke coming from my neighbor's apartment?

EPA suggests that you read your rental lease or condominium agreement carefully to determine whether there is a policy that may address secondhand smoke in your home. You may also get advice from a legal center since smokers may not have a right to smoke in apartments (condominiums are different) and landlords in many cases do have the power to ban smoking. You might also get advice from your local health department or other organizations in your state since there may be state or county building codes that relate to sanitary and health conditions or smoke-free ordinances that affect where you live.

The Smoke-free Environments Law Project provides information on secondhand smoke in apartments and condominiums at   In addition, EPA keeps a list of contacts for each state on its site at Your local chapter of the American Lung Association (call 1-800-LUNG-USA or go to their website at ) ma also be able to provide you with additional information on smoking codes and/or ordinances in your area.

How Does Secondhand Smoke Enter An Apartment?

Secondhand smoke can come into your apartment in multiple ways. Secondhand smoke does not respect boundaries, seeping through light fixtures, wall electric outlets, ceiling crawl spaces, and doorways into all areas of a building with smokers. Secondhand smoke cannot be controlled by ventilation, air cleaning, or the separation of smokers from nonsmokers. The U.S. Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure.

Read more about secondhand smoke at