News and Events

Local Spotlight: Condo Owner Fights Against Secondhand Smoke
By Leslie Spurlock
July 15, 2016

A condo owner for over 24 years, she had never had an issue as bad as this, and Ms. MT wouldn’t accept silence from the condo association as an answer.

For the first time in 83 years, her clothes, carpet and furniture reeked of tobacco smoke that was creeping into her apartment from the condo below. Throwing open windows did not relieve her difficulty breathing, nor did it help alleviate the stale smell of cigarettes smoked by the renter downstairs.

She turned to Tobacco Free Florida for help and was sent a packet of resources about the effects of second hand smoke. Using those resources, she learned that there is no acceptable level of second hand smoke. Secondhand smoke entering her apartment was not a trivial issue to her lifestyle or her health. It may precipitate asthma and may even trigger heart attacks in people with heart conditions. The only solution is eliminating it from your environment.

Armed with resources and knowledge, she addressed the condo association, asked the renter to smoke somewhere other than inside their apartment, and begged the apartment’s owner for assistance, but she was met with indifference.

Several months later, desperate to breathe clean air and to enjoy her apartment, Ms. MT retained a lawyer who intervened on her behalf.


In his letters to the association, the condo apartment owner, and the renter, he restated the urgency to eliminate second hand smoke from Ms. MT’s condominium. No amount of second hand smoke would be acceptable for the client’s health. Additionally, the intruding smoke prevents Ms. MT from enjoying her property.  The renter was asked to immediately cease smoking in the unit.

As a result, the renter moved out within two weeks and the condo association put on notice that second hand smoke is a serious health and quality of life issue, not merely a nuisance to ignore.

While both the science, and the law, were on her side, Ms. MT demonstrated the courage necessary to make a positive change in her community.