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Posted at 11:19 AM ET, 01/19/2012

Condo smoking debate: Readers weigh in

Yesterday, we posted a story on whether homeowners should be allowed to smoke in their own units if the secondhand fumes bother neighbors. The story hit a nerve, and many readers had a lot to say. The story generated more than 300 comments and nearly 800 votes on our (somewhat unscientific) poll.

Here’s a sampling of the reader comments that poured in. They make some interesting points:

RioBravo: Yet another reason I want to own a house rather than a condo or whatnot. I don’t even smoke any more but it’s the principle of the matter. The less I have to cater to the neurotic whims of my neighbor who has nothing better to do with his life, the better.

floof: It seems to me that if you choose to live in close quarters like a condo or apartment, the onus is on the individual not to make life unbearable for his neighbors. This means you don’t have loud parties late at night, you don’t start construction projects at 5 am, you don’t let your dog bark all day while you’re at work, and you smoke outside so at least the neighbors have the option of closing their windows.

FormerUpstater: I think in the end somebody is just going to have to move. It is so very dangerous that the government is telling people what they can and can’t do in their own homes. I have neighbors who smoke but my building’s ducts are not connected to other units. Sometimes I can smell it in the hallway but it never comes in my unit. Also, I have friends who smoke and they usually just smoke on my balcony if we have drinks. I never had any complaints.

TheHillman: One interesting aspect here is the monetary loss a condo owner may suffer if they have a heavy smoker next door. Simply put, when the condo owner goes to rent that condo out it may be impossible for him to get a tenant. And it may make it very difficult for him to sell. So, yes, once your personal habit starts costing your neighbor tens of thousands of dollars, it becomes your business. For those claiming second had smoke isn’t proven to be harmful, a simple Google search shows that the vast majority of scientists believe it is harmful.

And as of Thursday morning, here are the results of that poll:

Should smokers have to stop lighting up in their homes if the smoke is bothering their neighbors?

The votes were essentially split with 49 percent saying yes; 51 percent say no, as of Thursday morning, with 834 votes.

Should companies that manage townhouses and condos be held responsible for health ailments that residents say they’re incurring from other residents’ secondhand smoke?

Out of 681 votes, 28 percent say yes, 55 percent say no, and 17 percent say it depends.

Is this a question the courts or the legislature should settle?

The votes, again, were about even, with 47 percent said yes, it’s a matter of public health; 53 percent said no, it should be settled privately, with 659 votes.

By  |  11:19 AM ET, 01/19/2012

 
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