Slowly but surely, Boston luxury condo buildings have been snuffing out smoking tenants, demanding they clean up their act or take it on the road. In 2012, the Boston Globe reported that the Hub’s largest condo complex, Harbor Towers, was banning smoking “in all common areas inside the two, 40-story luxury high rises, virtually all outside areas, and within each unit” — so, yeah, everywhere.
This March the Lowell Sun brought to light a proposed bill by Rep. Jennifer Lunenburg that would ban smoking in apartments and condos, but not single-family homes, contended to be “a natural extension” against the Massachusetts law against smoking in public. Second hand smoke, it’s said, doesn’t actually stay within a unit, seeping through walls and vents into other apartments and living spaces.
Writes Alisa Peterson of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate:
One reason for banning smoking within someone’s property is the effects of second-hand smoke. Even if smoking is restricted to one condo, the vents are common throughout the building and the smoke from one unit will travel through the vent and into other units. This will affect the air quality in everyone’s condo.
Another reason, Peterson points out, is the often unsightly remnants smokers can leave in their wake. For a community where residents are paying hefty maintenance fees and sharing common areas and amenities, the non-smoking majority seems to be winning out.
It’s an interesting proposition — banning admission to a building based on a lifestyle choice. But Massachusetts employers are already choosing to not hire smokers for various health and company culture reasons. And anybody who’s been booked in a smoking hotel room against their will knows how strong the lingering odor can be, saying nothing of the yellowing wallpaper.
I think condo associations should have the right to ban smoking if they can prove its deleterious effect; the health of their residents and resale value of their properties could both benefit from such a decision. Whereas before, where relegating smokers to a wing or floor of the property seemed like a viable, albeit archaic, alternative, knowing that central vents mean no air is purely private air seems to render that nicotine patch obsolete.
Do you feel that Boston condos should be able to ban smokers? Sound off in the comments section below.