NY buildings hesitant to go smoke-free

July 15, 2011 08:40AM

Ariel West, a 68-unit Condominium On West 99th Street went smoke-free in May after the board voted to ban it, with a penalty of $150 per cigarette violation. No existing smokers were permitted to continue smoking under the new edict.

Other New York buildings are more hesitant to follow suit, the New York Post reported, for fear of stamping on smokers’ rights.

“Despite the dangerous and intrusive nature of cigarette smoke, smoking has long been identified with personal rights, probably because of cigarette manufacturers’ efforts to cast smoking as a rights issue,” Michael Greenberg, a Manhattan real estate attorney, said.

Smoking cases rarely result in litigation, because the disputes can be both lengthy and expensive.

At a different building, Eric Zollinger, president of Zollinger & Associates real estate firm, approached management about the smell of smoke seeping into his apartment from a neighbor’s.

“They came and sealed up all of the outlets in the master bath and master bedroom, but I could still smell it,” he said. “They came back and sealed up all of the outlets, media panels, light switches, and it dramatically helped.”

One resident told the Post she couldn’t stand the smell in her apartment any longer.

“We’re not talking about the smell of Indian food,” she said. “It’s carcinogens.” [Post]