10 things I’ve learned so far about cigarette smoke in New York City

1. The ban on smoking in a bar is a farce. Most bars allow smoking in New York City.

2. The ban on smoking in the workplace and public places is a farce.

  • People are allowed to smoke in their closed door office (some don’t even bother to close the door)
  • People are provided ashtrays in front of the building, close by the doors. The smoke carries up into the buildings.

3. You can call 911 for the fire department if someone smokes in your hallway, stairway or elevator.

4. You can fill out a health department smoking form if you find someone doing #3 or other “illegal” cigarette smoking.

5. You will have to call 311 to report the health department for not following up on your filing of #4 after two months.

6. You will have to wait 14 days and then call 311 again for #5.

7. If there is someone smoking in any unit in your building it can come into your apartment and basically the smoke is always going to be there.

8. There are some things you can do to make yourself feel better while hoping the smoker drops their habit or moves out.

a. Spray down your apartment everyday with the new febreze spray.

b. Use an essential oil diffuser with something like origins peace of mind (a true essential oil). This will neutralize the smell, i.e. give you another smell to divert your attention to the toxic smell

c. Buy a guardian station for each room in your apartment. It will try to purify 450 cubic feet of air an hour. When they are smoking forget about it. If they stop it gets better.

hopefully you can get a 20% bed bath and beyond coupon and buy a station there.

d. Caulk the place where the baseboard meets the walls in your apartment if it has not been done or is cracked.

e. Buy a $1.00 door strip from Home Depot and put it on at least your front door.

f. Keep at least one protected window open.

g. Talk to as many people in the building including management and landlord about the situation. Find likeminds.

h. Keep after the health and fire and 311 departments. Don’t give up. Don’t move unless of course you absolutely have to.

9. Try to convince Ashton Kutcher to talk to New York City Council about better smoking laws.

10. Keep bugging your building to put up no Fumar signs in the hallways, elevators and stairwell, you know the ones they said they ordered over 3 months ago, the ones that could not be done overnight.   Apparently telling them you will take the story to the New York Times and the New York State District attorney only goes so far, i.e. temporary signs taken down in a few days.


p.s. keep a photolog, because one day indeed, you will give the New York Times the full story and if you are lucky enough to get management’s e-mail you can e-mail them at discretionary intervals.


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