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Am I out of line to ask my neighbor to go smoke somewhere else if I can smell his smoke at my house?
October 18, 2010 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Am I out of line to ask my neighbor to go smoke somewhere else if I can smell his smoke at my house?

Our neighbor smokes like a chimney and I happen to find the smell of cigarette smoke one of the most revolting things on the planet.

The problem is that the guy smokes about 20 yards from our house and that smell frequently makes its way over to our house.

So if I'm outside or have windows open, I can smell his cigarette smoke pretty clearly.

Am I out of line to ask him to go smoke somewhere else? Or am I asking to start a major neighborly feud?
posted by JPigford to Home & Garden (64 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If you ask him not to smoke on his own property, yes, you're going to start a feud.
posted by Oktober at 8:01 AM on October 18, 2010 [26 favorites]


Look at it from his perspective. Where is he allowed to smoke nowadays? Not in bars, not in restaurants, not in offices, not anywhere really. It's likely that if he lives with somebody else in the house, they don't let him smoke inside either. So, smoking in his backyard is really the only place he's allowed to indulge himself— by complaining you are attacking this last refuge. I'm a smoker and I know if somebody complained about me smoking in my backyard I would probably do something I would regret later. Don't complain about this unless you want your tires slashed, house egged, etc.
posted by Electrius at 8:03 AM on October 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yes, you would be out of line.
posted by brand-gnu at 8:05 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


When this happens, I close my windows. I never even thought about asking the smokers next door to knock it off. And I don't think I should, or that they would comply even if I did.

I once had neighbors who smoked in their bathroom and it got through the walls of my apartment, and I had no compunctions about asking them to smoke somewhere else. But I think this is a bit different, no?
posted by grouse at 8:07 AM on October 18, 2010


Can you put a fan in the window while he's smoking and blow it outwards? I lived above a smoker who smoked on her balcony which drifted right up to ours and in our windows - it sucked but I really didn't think I could ask her to refrain. Treat it as an occasional unpleasant smell in your neighborhood.
posted by amanda at 8:08 AM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I feel your pain, but yes, you'd be out of line.
posted by something something at 8:09 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by Ahab at 8:09 AM on October 18, 2010


He's permitted to smoke at his house. If you have a particularly close relationship, you might tell him you can smell it, though.
posted by inturnaround at 8:10 AM on October 18, 2010


When you say "the guy smokes about 20 yards from our house", are you saying his house is 20 yards from your house, and he smokes on his own property? Then yes, you are TOTALLY out of line for requesting him to move. It's his property, he has every right to smoke on it.

But if you're saying that he leaves his house to smoke, and his favorite smoking spot is 20 yards from your house (and it's public property), then you might be able go up to him and be extremely polite and suggest that he go somewhere else. But even then you're sort-of being kind of an asshole.
posted by gkhan at 8:11 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you ask him not to smoke on his own property, yes, you're going to start a feud.
And be totally out of line. Unless he's doing something illegal, you really don't have any right to control what he does on his on property. Where would you prefer he smokes? The smoke has to go somewhere and chances are there will be a someone on the receiving end that doesn't like it.

Even if that weren't the case, depending on his personality and how friendly you are as neighbours, there's a chance that you asking him to smoke elsewhere will just make the problem worse and he'll stand closer to your house or blow his smoke directly at your open window.
posted by missmagenta at 8:12 AM on October 18, 2010


I was all set to come to your defense--I live in an old rowhouse neighborhood, and my neighbor used to smoke on her back steps, which, as it happened, was mere feet away from my doors and windows. Turned out, she realized this on her own after a while, and moved farther out in the yard. Nice neighbor. Miss her.

But you're saying he's over 50 feet away. Nah, I think you have to live with it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:12 AM on October 18, 2010


Out of line, yes. I have little sympathy for smokers but there is no good that can come of asking him to modify his behaviour in his own home.

As an aside, I have a friend who is a heavy smoker and a vegetarian. She offers many many complaints on facebook about a neighbour who has the temerity to cook meat where she can smell it. It would be wondrous if it transpired that she and the OP were next-door neighbours.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:18 AM on October 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it's over the line.

If you asked me not to smoke in my backyard, I don't think I'd slash your tires or egg your house. But, I would also tell you "Not gonna happen," totally ignore your request, continue smoking, and label you as precisely the sort of overly sensitive yuppie worthy of roughly zero respect.

Here's a little news flash: nobody has a right not to be annoyed. You live with other humans, and sometimes they do things you don't like. That doesn't mean you have any right to expect them to stop. And it doesn't mean they have any responsibility to stop annoying you.
posted by Netzapper at 8:18 AM on October 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Yeah you need to get a fan or something. It's like when my boyfriend farts and I'm downwind of him. I just make sure to reposition and put the fan towards his ass. I tried asking him to stop farting but that was ridiculous of me. It would be ridiculous for you to ask your neighbor not to smoke outside. He's not on your property right?
posted by mokeydraws at 8:20 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you really, really hate it, one way you could go about asking him is to figure out what kind of cigarettes he's smoking (ask, even.) go out, purchase a carton. Give him the carton, and while doing so, let him know that you can smell his cigarette smoke in his current smoke spot, point out the fact that there's probably nothing he can do about it, and then just have a conversation with him. That's how I'd go about it, though I don't know if it would be very successful.
posted by ejfox at 8:23 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a smoker and if my neighbor said that he/she would prefer I not smoke on my own property, I would probably say something pretty sarcastic, keep smoking and probably avoid you for as long as we were neighbors... and talk a lot of crap about you.

I mean, I wish the kids next door would stay quiet all the time, but I wouldn't even think about asking their parents to please keep their children indoors.

I also don't really care for the dog in the place behind me - as he barks a lot when my neighbors have gone to work.
Am I gonna go over there and tell them to put a muzzle on their dog while they're at work?

Perhaps you are fit for a more rural location. I will admit, when I moved to Tennessee for the first time, I enjoyed not having any neighbors except for goats. That way I didn't have to feel like I was a horrible person for playing music "too loud", having a few friends over late nights during the summer, ... or apparently smoking outside.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:26 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think there's a difference between farts and cigarette smoke. Farts don't cause lung cancer...at least as far as I'm aware.

Sure, the amount of second hand smoke my family is getting from this guy is marginal at best, but if I have the ability to reduce that, then I figured I'd at least try. Sounds like it'd do more harm that good, though (as far as relationships go).
posted by JPigford at 8:28 AM on October 18, 2010


It's out of line, definitely. I have a similar situation (although not nearly as bad) with my downstairs neighbors; their smoke often wafts upwards into my window when they are out smoking. C'est la vie.

The only way to deal with this in any satisfactory way is to get to be friends with him and then at such a point as is absolutely natural somehow drop a mention about how you can smell his smoke when he stands in this particular spot. Perhaps he'll voluntarily move from that point on, 'cause you guys are buds. But, you know, don't count on it, and if you were to drop such a hint in any other way but the most casual mention without any sort of passive-aggressive tone (i.e. without the intent of getting him to not smoke in a place that makes it so you can smell it) then it won't work. And it probably won't work anyways. But at least you'll be friends.
posted by dubitable at 8:28 AM on October 18, 2010


Here's a little news flash: nobody has a right not to be annoyed

Sure they do. Like all things, it's a question of severity and scale.

Look, OP, the advice here is fine. Expect resistance if he is smoking on his own property: treat this as a favour, not a demand.

Try and think what an amenable solution would look like, bearing in mind your neighbour isn't going to stop smoking on his property. Could he move round the corner, or at the end of his garden. Again, your neighbour has to propose this solution. Most people don't take well to being told where they can and cannot smoke on their property.

Also think about things you can do to mitigate the problem - don't leave windows open downwind of where he smokes etc.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:29 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


About the best you can do is this:

1. Buy a smokeless ashtray.
2. Throw a party, invite over neighbor.
3. Make sure you both have several beers in you. Say to neighbor "Hey, you seem like a pretty good neighbor I hope you don't think I'm being an ass, but I have a problem with cigarette smoke. I'm not a psycho or anything, and I'm not trying to ask you to quit smoking or whatever, but I bought you this smokeless ashtray and wanted to see if you might want to use it."
posted by 23skidoo at 8:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


if I have the ability to reduce that, then I figured I'd at least try

You do have the ability to reduce that. Close your windows when he smokes.
posted by grouse at 8:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [21 favorites]


Definitely out of line to ask him to change what he does on his own property. If you're going in for the long haul on this, I suggest something like planting some aromatic, densely foliaged trees by the windows where the smoke comes in. It won't fix the problem but you might be able to ignore it more easily and enjoy the scent of say, lilacs, pines, cedars, or limes in the meantime, the leaves will act a little bit like a windbreak, and of course, your yard will look nicer. Fans also definitely work - even if you don't get the big box fan sort of thing, just a little fan on the windowsill, pointing out so it sucks the air from the room, will deter a lot of the problem. Of course, a fan in your window kind of removes the enjoyment of having it open, so you're a bit SoL.

Even though I've never been a smoker, over the years I've actually come to enjoy the smell of some kinds of cigarettes. It might be best for you to stop concentrating on how "revolting" the smell is, and try to consider it an inconvenience like any other yucky environmental factor, such as traffic noise, unpleasant weather, and so-on. Maybe instead of getting your neighbor to change his ways, you can change your own experience and allow yourself to ignore things that don't please you.
posted by Mizu at 8:33 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sure, the amount of second hand smoke my family is getting from this guy is marginal at best, but if I have the ability to reduce that, then I figured I'd at least try.

No one in your family will get lung cancer solely from the smelling of cigarette smoke coming through your windows from over 60 feet away. Until cigarette smoking is illegal, you and your family will encounter smokers outside (outside!) all the time.

Just nthing the "out of line" business, but I do like the idea of getting to be friends with him, then bringing it up really casually sometime.
posted by King Bee at 8:34 AM on October 18, 2010


Oh, and on preview:

4. Do NOT mention trying to reduce second-hand smoke from 60 feet away as a reason for your wanting to have less of his smoke in your general area.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:35 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Farts don't cause lung cancer...at least as far as I'm aware.

Second hand smoke from 20 yards away in the open air is not going to give you lungcancer. That's just silly.
posted by gkhan at 8:39 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The amount of dangerous secondhand smoke you're getting from this guy is comparable to the amount he's getting when you have a weekend barbecue in the summertime. Would you be offended if somebody came to your door and told you to stop grilling out because they hate the smell of cooking meat and that the smoke is giving them cancer? Would you feel they were within their rights to demand that you stop? Somehow I doubt it. Minor annoyances like this are the price you pay for the convenience of living in town.
posted by cosmicbandito at 8:39 AM on October 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


1. Buy a smokeless ashtray.
2. Throw a party, invite over neighbor.
3. Make sure you both have several beers in you. Say to neighbor "Hey, you seem like a pretty good neighbor I hope you don't think I'm being an ass, but I have a problem with cigarette smoke. I'm not a psycho or anything, and I'm not trying to ask you to quit smoking or whatever, but I bought you this smokeless ashtray and wanted to see if you might want to use it."


Nothing about this plan doesn't yell "psycho" to me.
posted by hermitosis at 8:40 AM on October 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


Perhaps that wasn't a good analogy. My point was about unreasonable requests. Was funny to me anyway.
posted by mokeydraws at 8:50 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nthing out of line. Sorry. I know it's frustrating to consider something "the most revolting smell on earth" and have it coming into your house on a regular basis. But, as stated by many above, you will not be getting lung cancer from secondhand smoke from that far away. So with the health issue removed, this boils down to "odor annoyance." Unfortunately, plenty of people live within smelling distance of a smell they consider repulsive - cooking meat, chinese food, strong flowers, the dog food plant, etc. - it's just one of those things you need to get over or make concessions on your end to lessen what is coming into your house.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:51 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


In several states/cities, there's a ban prohibiting smoking within a certain distance of public entrances. The stated distance is usually fifteen to twenty feet. If your neighbor was that close to your property, you might be okay to politely request he smoke elsewhere, but at twenty yards in the open you'd come across as unreasonable.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:59 AM on October 18, 2010


"I think there's a difference between farts and cigarette smoke. Farts don't cause lung cancer...at least as far as I'm aware.

Sure, the amount of second hand smoke my family is getting from this guy is marginal at best"


Yes, at 20 yards it is trivial. The car exhaust on the street is a much greater danger to your health*. So please forget about the secondhand smoke / lung cancer angle in your dealings with your neighbor or you will come across as a crazy person.

[*I am not an air quality scientist but I work for some and thus feel qualified to pretend to know what I'm talking about.]

"but if I have the ability to reduce that, then I figured I'd at least try."


I'd focus on things you can do on your own property to block/divert the smell. A fan that blows away from your house, or a physical barrier that alters the airflow patterns.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:16 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I disagree that it is out of line to ask. If his dog was barking and keeping you awake, you'd ask. If his tree was dropping limbs on your driveway, you'd have a conversation. This give and take is part of living in a city / subdivision / etc. If you don't want to deal with people, move out to the country.

But it's all in how you ask. I don't know what your relationship with said neighbor is, but if it's at all a healthy relationship, a friendly request to perhaps move a little is fine. As long as you caveat with "hey, if not, that's cool." You may also want to ask if there is anything you can do for him while you're talking. And if you've never spoken to the man, maybe try to get to know him a bit first.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:17 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fan blowing out in a room really helps- I live in a first floor apartment and our bedroom faces the street. I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke in the bedroom, and just a small fan really helps. Outside, think about planting trees or shrubs as a windbreak, like Mizu suggested.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:20 AM on October 18, 2010


Maybe a tall hedge between your houses would help filter the smoke.
posted by orme at 9:20 AM on October 18, 2010


think about planting trees or shrubs as a windbreak, like Mizu suggested.

oops. yeah, that.
posted by orme at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2010


I don't consider it unreasonable in the slightest. Yes, it should be asked as a favor. Something along the lines of "I can certainly live with it if you like that spot, but if it's all the same to you, it would be a tremendous favor to me if you could smoke around the corner."

To me, this is no different than, for example, politely asking a neighbor to mow their lawn a little later in the morning. Or not playing loud music in their backyard late at night.
posted by jedicus at 9:22 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I went around spraying air freshener everywhere and even spraying it onto people, they would think I was extremely rude and probably call the police if I sprayed it on them. On the other hand, smokers blow their smoke into the faces of others and when others complain, the smokers get upset.

I doubt your neighbor will stop smoking in his own backyard if you ask him to. I know it's probably passive aggressive and immature, but if you have other neighbors nearby, I would send an anonymous note. This way, he won't be able to take retribution against you for asking him not to smoke. He probably won't stop even after the note, but at least the anonymous note will likely annoy him.
posted by parakeetdog at 9:27 AM on October 18, 2010


When I was pregnant with Toddler Zizzle, there was this guy in my building who would go out on to the stoop and smoke. Because the building was smoke free and no one was allowed to smoke in the building. So, he abided by the rules laid forth by the condo association or trust for the building or whatever legal authority owned the building. He didn't smoke inside.

But our bedroom window was a few feet up from the stoop, and the wind would blow down our street in the direction of our building. And when this guy -- and others --- smoked outside on or near the stoop, the smoke and its smells would make its way into my bedroom assisted by the wind.

And then I'd feel really nauseous (which happens on a minor level when I smell cigarettes, but when I was pregnant, even well after morning sickness was over, it induced crazy coughing fits and a couple of times sent me running for the bathroom). The smoking outside was a problem for me when I was inside my bedroom.

So. Dr.E and I puzzled out how we could gently approach this person (and a few others) and ask him (and the others) to smoke maybe ten feet further down the street. I think my being pregnant may have gotten some sympathy for this guy to possibly have been willing to do so. But in the end, we decided he wasn't doing anything wrong (there was a sign that said "No smoking in the building," but no signs that said, "No smoking on the steps outside the building!") and he wasn't breaking any laws. So when I would start to smell the smoke, I'd move to the living room, which had windows at a different angle and wasn't susceptible to wafting smoke. Then when we put the AC in, that helped in the bedroom.

If I, when pregnant and living in an apartment building, don't think I had cause to ask a smoker to move for my immediate, as opposed to longterm, health, then I don't think you, the owner of one house, have cause to ask your neighbor, an owner of another house, to change his smoking habits.
posted by zizzle at 9:29 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I went around spraying air freshener everywhere and even spraying it onto people, they would think I was extremely rude and probably call the police if I sprayed it on them. On the other hand, smokers blow their smoke into the faces of others and when others complain, the smokers get upset.

The difference here is that the reason why people smoke is not in order to blow it on people and "in their faces".

As a courteous smoker, I can admit that if the OP asked me nicely and told me that the smoke is wafting into his house, I would probably change where I smoke. I may be a bit incredulous at first (since I'm 20 yards away), but if it were asked nicely and as a favor, I'd probably do it.

However, not everyone is like me, and if you don't know this neighbor at all you will be causing yourself more trouble than it is worth.
posted by King Bee at 9:35 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know it's probably passive aggressive and immature, but if you have other neighbors nearby, I would send an anonymous note. This way, he won't be able to take retribution against you for asking him not to smoke. He probably won't stop even after the note, but at least the anonymous note will likely annoy him.

If you are not sure how he will react, please don't do this - someone did something similar to my mother about mowing the lawn properly/regularly. She turned from a decent neighbor into a psychopath. It wasn't cute, made everyone uncomfortable, and it took years to repair the damage to the relationships in the neighborhood.

Say something or don't, but do it right.
posted by Tchad at 9:42 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't go the anonymous note route. Anonymous notes to neighbors are for things like "hey after you ripped out your lilac bushes, now everyone around can see right into your bathroom, maybe you want to put up some curtains?" kind of thing. Not this kind of issue.

My next door neighbor sometimes smokes cigars on his patio. I'm sure he's out on his patio so he won't stink up his house. Sometimes the wind carries the cigar smoke into our bedroom.

I close the windows. No big deal.
posted by ambrosia at 10:02 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not a smoker, and I find your request way out of line. The suggestion that that much second-hand smoke, dissipating into the open air, could cause cancer is ludicrous; I find myself wondering if you can indeed smell the smoke. Perhaps you are simply annoyed by having to see it. Close the window, and if that doesn't work, close the blind: stop trying to control what other people do, and you will feel better at once.
posted by uans at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Farts don't cause lung cancer...at least as far as I'm aware.

The problem is your request is akin to asking the people that drive by your house every day to take a different route because their car's exhaust is poisoning you. The wind blows and smoke travels on the wind like bricks don't, to paraphrase a great writer. Your options are to close your windows or move somewhere with better "nice air" odds.

This is one of the unfortunate negative side effects of the war on smokers. Society has pushed them out of their hermetically-sealed bubbles (bars, lounges, apartments, etc.) and cast them into everyone's shared space. * full disclosure: ex-smoker
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:14 AM on October 18, 2010


If there's literally one spot on his property that causes the problem, then I think you're not out of line to tell him, casually, "Dude, when you stand under your linden tree to smoke, the smoke goes RIGHT into my window. Obviously it's your property and you can do whatever you want, but. . . anyway, now you're fully informed" or whatever. But if the problem is that you can smell things that happen on his property? That's a reality of community life; when my neighbor mows her lawn, I can smell the gas from her lawnmower, too. If you need to live in that kind of isolation, it's on you to find a place where that can happen.
posted by KathrynT at 10:15 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I went around spraying air freshener everywhere and even spraying it onto people, they would think I was extremely rude and probably call the police if I sprayed it on them. On the other hand, smokers blow their smoke into the faces of others and when others complain, the smokers get upset.

Actually, I wouldn't complain if someone sprayed air freshener 20 yards away in their own yard.
posted by KogeLiz at 10:15 AM on October 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


In addition to written notes going over poorly with people, if it's anonymous he might assume that the neighbor on the other side of his house wrote it, and politely move his smoking location closer to you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:17 AM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Baffled by the majority opinion here. You absolutely would not be out of line to ask him to stop damaging the quality of your air. Realistically, though, you should expect that he won't change his habits -- and he's especially unlikely to reform if you ask in a peremptory way (or an aggravating way, such as via anonymous note).

Incidentally, you're probably more worried about secondhand smoke than is warranted.
posted by foursentences at 10:22 AM on October 18, 2010


I was the smoking neighbor in this equation, and it bummed me out no end when my neighbor would very loudly cough as I'd sit in the backyard of an evening enjoying my one cigarette of the day. There's no good solution for the smoker, but you can shut your windows or use a fan. Have a little sympathy for one of the only places left where he can smoke.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:47 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've gota asthma, and walking to Work (ironically, at The Clean Air Council!) I would wander through a cloud of mysterious, disembodied cigarette smoke. I would, without fail, have an asthma attack. Multiple times a week.

When someone, in traffic, in another car, is smoking a cigarette, and I drive through their cloud with my car windows rolled up, I will have an asthma attack.

When neighbors in my apartment complex on other floors smoke cigarettes, I have an asthma attack.

My mother smokes, and I cannot visit her back porch (where she smokes) because the lingering smoke there will cause me an asthma attack. If she or someone else starts smoking at her house, I leave.

Cigarette smoke is one of the motherfucking banes of my motherfucking existence.

It would take precisely two asthma attacks in or around my home to say something. And I wouldn't feel out of line at all. "Dear Smoker. I have really severe asthma. When you smoke, I literally require medical intervention. I really hope we can find a way for this to work out for both of us."

Will that do a damn bit of good? No. As a lot of smokers have said in this thread, they're defensive about their habit. It would probably get worse. I'd probably have to move. And really, that's the only thing I have control over. I cant make someone smoke conveniently for me. Or stop. Or whatever. I can only remove myself. But damnit, I'm not going to do that without first expressing exactly how harmful their motherfucking cigarettes are to me and people like me.
posted by jph at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Baffled by the majority opinion here. You absolutely would not be out of line to ask him to stop damaging the quality of your air."

Seriously, unless you would also chase cars down the street demanding that people stop driving in front of your house because they're damaging the quality of your air, at 20 yards away the OP's neighbor is not damaging the "quality of [the OP's] air" by any greater health-affecting amount.

The neighbor is merely making a "bad" (to the OP) smell by doing something the neighbor enjoys. The previously mentioned analogy of the OP grilling meat and offending vegan neighbors with the smell is a good one. At the distance cited, it's a personal taste in smells issue, not a health issue. [IANAD]
posted by Jacqueline at 10:53 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nthing a nice big fence with some fast-growing shrubberies or trees in front of it. It's your problem, not his.
posted by meepmeow at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would take precisely two asthma attacks in or around my home to say something. And I wouldn't feel out of line at all. "Dear Smoker. I have really severe asthma. When you smoke, I literally require medical intervention. I really hope we can find a way for this to work out for both of us."

That's fine, and completely within your rights as a person physically suffering because of a neighbor smoking. The OP just doesn't like the smell. Big difference. I'll maintain that the OP would be out of line (although, if phrased correctly, possibly inoffensive) to ask the person to move.
posted by coupdefoudre at 11:00 AM on October 18, 2010


The guy is on his own property, outdoors, and over 50 feet away. I would imagine the coincidences in wind patterns that would lightly waft smoke over that distance without completely dispersing it would be fairly rare. I mean if you can't smoke outdoors on your own property, where could you possibly smoke?

Incidentally there are several posters in this thread that would make outstanding presidents of a homeowners association.
posted by sanka at 11:15 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sure, the amount of second hand smoke my family is getting from this guy is marginal at best, but if I have the ability to reduce that, then I figured I'd at least try

Yeah, this is gonna get you to the trailhead of Crazy Mountain. Have you considered weatherstripping?

jph: "Cigarette smoke is one of the motherfucking banes of my motherfucking existence. "

Forgive my impertinence, but it really sounds like asthma is your bane.
posted by rhizome at 11:59 AM on October 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


I would second what another said, I would wait until y'all were on friendly speaking terms and, if there was someplace reasonable they could move too, then I would politely bring it up. Otherwise I would let it go.
posted by zzazazz at 12:16 PM on October 18, 2010


No anonymous notes. Don't do that.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have sort of an analogous situation. The house next door is a shitty rental that is only about 8 feet away from our house, and the dryer vent is aimed squarely into our back yard, right next to our back door. Especially in the winter, the exhaust from the dryer forms a cloud that just hangs in our yard and comes into our house every time we open the door. You can actually see it. So, knowing that the neighbors have a right to do laundry in their own house, my solution has been this. Every time new tenants move in, I go over there with a big bag of different kinds of unscented laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, etc. A nice selection. And I explain the problem, apologize for sounding like a nut, and offer to keep them in free laundry supplies for as long as they live there if they will just use unscented products. Everyone has been very gracious about it and this is over a period of almost 20 years and just as many tenants.

So if I were you, I'd think about what is a reasonable thing that you can offer this guy in exchange for his accommodating your desire to breathe clean air. I have no idea what that might be. Do you want him to smoke on the other side of his house? Does it need fixing up so it's a nice place to smoke? Maybe a patio heater and set of furniture? Or maybe you could keep him in cigarettes? I don't know, just throwing out some ideas. If there's no place he can go that won't bother you, then, yeah, you should just leave it alone.
posted by HotToddy at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not a smoker but both my parents did and I have ALWAYS hated it. But the world isn't here for you and you alone. Share and share alike and all that. Personally this is way inside my comfort zone. otherwise where should the guy/gal smoke? On the moon? Until that becomes the case legally wherever you are (and I can't say that's a future I look forward to, as much as I hate smoking) you're out of line.

Side note: This reminds me of the setting of the Stallone movie "Demolition Man" where sugar, salt, and smoking were all illegal... scary when taken to that extreme and I see a taste of it here.... Sorry if that's a bit blunt.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


20 Year Smoker who hates the smell. If I was smoking and it bothered somebody, I'd like to know about it so I can correct it.

I don't agree with the "I can do whatever I want on my property" folks. Because my smoke is going into their home and disturbing them enjoying their property.

I don't think he will be offended.....because he's smoking outside so that his house isn't stinky....he'll understand.
posted by GoodPuppy at 3:14 PM on October 18, 2010


If he found the smell of your pugs the most revolting thing on the planet, would you agree to never let them in your yard? Would it bother you if he asked?
posted by Houstonian at 5:30 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the "Little Emperors" were only in China. BTW, that would become your new nickname in the neighborhood.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:54 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It sucks but close your windows when you notice it and perhaps grow dense foliage plants against the boundry to filter/obstruct the smoke.
posted by lilyflower at 1:56 AM on October 21, 2010


On the other hand, smokers blow their smoke into the faces of others and when others complain, the smokers get upset.

Will that do a damn bit of good? No. As a lot of smokers have said in this thread, they're defensive about their habit.

Disagree with both statements. As an off and on smoker, I'm very careful to choose a spot that will bother nobody, or at least the fewest number. That often means not smoking at all, if there's no designated place. In my back yard, I can sometimes, during certain weather conditions, see my smoke make a beeline for the neighbor's patio. I have another spot over at the side of the house I go to then.

If my neighbor politely asked me to smoke in a different location, or somehow help him solve the smoke smell problem, I'd be amenable. If the reason were OMG cancer from 20 yards, I'd be less enthusiastic, but still willing to do what I could within reason.

Not smoking at all on my own property is not "within reason", nor is smoking inside my house. If the same neighbor had an entitled attitude about it, he could go fuck himself. Perhaps that's how the commenters I quoted came by their experiences with smokers' willingness to help out.
posted by ctmf at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2010


Oh, and he could certainly fuck right off, but retribution? Come on. I'm 40 years old, not 16. I'd be annoyed, and I'd ignore him. That's all. I wouldn't try to make it worse to punish him, or damage his car or property. For fucks' sake, people.
posted by ctmf at 8:31 PM on October 24, 2010


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