Let’s prohibit smoking?in apartment buildings

I am writing in regard to New York State’s ban on smoking in public and work places, effective July 24, 2003. While the law bans smoking in almost every indoor area where non-smokers can be exposed to secondhand smoke, there seems to be a gap in the law regarding smoking in apartment buildings. The law states that the ban “shall not apply to private homes, private residences and private automobiles.”

Common sense would indicate that an apartment building is not equal to a private residence. I respect a person’s right to smoke in his residence, but I see a gray area when the smoke from an individual apartment creeps under the doors into public areas of the building, and seeps through the floor boards into other people’s apartments. This exposes others to the dangers and inconvenience that the law was intended to address.

Even my friends who smoke regularly tell me that if they smoke in their apartment, they make sure they do it near a window with proper ventilation so that their apartment isn’t steeped in smoke, and so it does not negatively impact others who live in the same building.

I would like to see this law amended so that landlords have the authority to address this issue with tenants who are inadvertently violating other tenants’ rights to breathe clean air in their apartments.

Rob Alessi