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Increasing numbers of us live in inner city apartments. We’re near work, and the best bars and bistros are just around the corner. The air is fresher a few floors up, too – until you discover you have a smoker as a neighbor. Your once fresh-as-a-country-field apartment suddenly stinks of cigarette smoke. You close the windows and balcony doors. No change. You’re plagued by nasty cigarette odor. It must be coming through the wall.

Strange as it may seem, your hypothesis isn’t far from the truth. In this blog post, we’ll see if cigarette smoke really can travel through walls. We’ll also give you a strategy to erase cigarette smoke odor when it’s coming from next door.

Yes, smoke can travel through walls… kinda

According to TobaccoFreeCA, smoke can travel through walls. However, even though cigarette smoke seeps into walls, floors and ceilings, when it travels it tends to act in a similar way to water – it takes the easiest and fastest route. Once you understand how smoke travels through walls, then you can do something about it.

How does cigarette smoke travel through walls?

Cigarette smoke isn’t controlled by Merlin the magician or one of J. K. Rowling’s wizards. It doesn’t have magical qualities, and can’t teleport from one apartment to another in Star Trek style. So just how does the odor from your neighbor’s cigarette habit get into your apartment?

Quite simply, it seeks out opportunities to do so. It will travel through the smallest gaps and cracks. The most likely of these smoke odor routes are to be found in:

  • Air vents
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical outlets
  • Cable and phone jacks
  • Gaps in insulation

Of course, open doors, windows and balconies are also favorite highways for cigarette smoke.

How to combat your neighbor’s cigarette smoke odor

If you can smell stale cigarette smoke (there really are few worse smells), the first thing to do is attempt to discover where it’s coming in. If you get on well with your neighbor – apart from the smoke smell – you might be able to work together to locate exit and entry points. It will be better if they deal with exit points in their apartment in the same way that you deal with entry points.

Okay, now that you’ve identified where the odor may be crossing over from one apartment to another, here’s what to do next:

  • Seal all the gaps

Use appropriate fillers such as silicone caulk or insulating foam. There may be gaps around light fittings, vents, plumbing pipes, and so on.

  • Close down non-working vents

Close down any vents that are no longer in use by covering with plastic sheeting. Attach the sheet to the vent using silicone caulk.

  • Eliminate gaps in doors and windows

Where doors and windows open onto common areas, use draft excludes to remove any gaps. Add weatherstripping on all three sides of the door jamb. Use weatherstripping around windows, too.

  • Fit an extractor fan to windows

This will draw smoke odor outside. You may need permission to fit these, and should take advice on which will be best.

  • Freshen up your home

With all this work done, the last thing to do will be to remove the smoke odor from your home. There’s a number of methods you can use, including using an ozone machine, baking soda on carpets, and waving a wet towel around your rooms.

If you live in a building where smoking is prohibited, you may be able to get your landlord to enforce the no-smoking rules. Otherwise, taking the actions outlined above should eliminate most if not all cigarette smoke that travels through the walls.

If you still find your next-door neighbor’s smoke is invading your personal space after taking the above actions, contact Porter's. We’re available 24/7 and we’ll be happy to help you resolve the problem of unwanted smoke smells.

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Guest
Guest
Great advice but you cannot stop your neighbours from smoking if they are permitted  or its coming through windows you cant force people to stop smoking. And i dont s moke.I think if this doesnt work then the only option you have is to leave. Harsh but true. Its legal to smoke and it wont ever be banned. Im having this crap with a nosy neighbour who thinks im doing it and she really is aggravating me. I will show her this page so many thanks smoking is a horrible habit and although i dont like the the smell if the smoker doesnt mean it most of the time its very hard to stop. As well as Porters patience is just as important. I have asthma but i make allowances 
Guest
Guest
So far 27 states have banned public smoking. And you should check your county smoking ordinance, as they are mostly, I have found, in favor of non-smokers. I have also read a case where the judgement was ruled in favor of the non-smoking neighbor. Yes, you have the right to smoke in your own property but it’s not a constitutional right - shall not infringe on the non-smoker’s Constitutional Right to peace and enjoyment because 2nd has smoke is a danger to public safety and is known to cause cancer.
Guest
Guest
So far 27 states have banned public smoking. And you should check your county smoking ordinance, as they are mostly, I have found, in favor of non-smokers. I have also read a case where the judgement was ruled in favor of the non-smoking neighbor. Yes, you have the right to smoke in your own property but it’s not a constitutional right - shall not infringe on the non-smoker’s Constitutional Right to peace and enjoyment because 2nd has smoke is a danger to public safety and is known to cause cancer.
Guest
Guest
My neighbor smokes in a non smoking building. It is even in our lease. She gets away with it because I haven't been able to prove it. Why it is my doing to catch her doing it. The manager wants me to take a picture of her through the window to prove it. How when the curtains are closed all the time and she always smokes in her bedroom. So the smoke seeps through the wall. I have tried to seal every crack possible on the wall, under the wall, every outlet. I have tried my best to be nice to her and she is horrible to me. She knows I suffer from migraines and cigarette smoke makes me sick. Because I have told her numerous times. She does her best to blow her smoke on the wall every time she smokes. She does it to just be mean. I have two air purifiers on. But in the Winter time they blow cold air and having them on high really is anoying. I wish I could figure it out where the leak is in the wall. She knows and holds it over my head. Every time I make her mad by something. Which I don't know what I did she really blows the smoke through the wall. 
If you have any suggestions to help me. Please do. Thank you for reading. 
Guest
Guest
My neighbor smokes in a non smoking building. It is even in our lease. She gets away with it because I haven't been able to prove it. Why it is my doing to catch her doing it. The manager wants me to take a picture of her through the window to prove it. How when the curtains are closed all the time and she always smokes in her bedroom. So the smoke seeps through the wall. I have tried to seal every crack possible on the wall, under the wall, every outlet. I have tried my best to be nice to her and she is horrible to me. She knows I suffer from migraines and cigarette smoke makes me sick. Because I have told her numerous times. She does her best to blow her smoke on the wall every time she smokes. She does it to just be mean. I have two air purifiers on. But in the Winter time they blow cold air and having them on high really is anoying. I wish I could figure it out where the leak is in the wall. She knows and holds it over my head. Every time I make her mad by something. Which I don't know what I did she really blows the smoke through the wall. 
If you have any suggestions to help me. Please do. Thank you for reading. 
Guest
Guest
Hello~
Wellness and Blessings~~2022
Please assist with just putrid Smoke and Weed-Hash Next Door Houses Odors Traveling into our Streets and Homes~
Eeeck.
New Jersey and New York
College Student
Miss Angel
Guest
Guest
Any evidence that shows that cigarette smoke travels through walls- and not gaping wholes in walls? How about a piece of drywall that shows cigarette smoke staining the core of the plaster? This is a ridiculous article, what next stop neighbours from cooking liver because a neighbour doesn't like the smell? This blog author is as irresponsible as he is incompetent in his, or her's assessments...
I would suggest that those of you that are afflicted by cigarette smells thank your neighbour since he probably contributed to preventing you from getting Covid... Unless of course you are a slow acetylators, in which case no matter what, there is no masks for cancer...


Guest
Guest
Any evidence that shows that cigarette smoke travels through walls- and not gaping wholes in walls? How about a piece of drywall that shows cigarette smoke staining the core of the plaster? This is a ridiculous article, what next stop neighbours from cooking liver because a neighbour doesn't like the smell? This blog author is as irresponsible as he is incompetent in his, or her's assessments...
I would suggest that those of you that are afflicted by cigarette smells thank your neighbour since he probably contributed to preventing you from getting Covid... Unless of course you are a slow acetylators, in which case no matter what, there is no masks for cancer...


Guest
Guest
I live in an apartment building in Houston, TX that actually does prohibit smoking in your apartment in your lease.  Unfortunately, my neighbor smokes in his bathroom and the smoke comes through the pipe chase for the plumbing between our apartments.  I decided I could either be a jerk and constantly complain to management about him (the smell really is AWFUL.... And I shouldn't have to smell it in my apartment. PERIOD.) or, I could find solutions.  I found two that work almost perfectly.  First I run the bathroom exhaust 24/7. Second, I found ZEP Smoke Odor Eliminator Professional Air Spray..  This stuff is miraculous!! The smell is not overwhelming and it instantly removes the smoke smell for a period of several days.  It also seems to protect my furniture.  If you live in an apartment, get a can of this stuff.  Oh, also I used foam window insulation tape to seal off the door on my apartment circuit breaker door.  I found the circuit breaker box to be a big source of the smoke. Sealing it off really helps. Good luck.
Guest
Guest
It's not a right to smoke

there is no constitutional or other legal right to smoke, even in one's own dwelling.
Guest
Guest
It's not a right to smoke

there is no constitutional or other legal right to smoke, even in one's own dwelling.
Guest
Guest
It's not a right to smoke

there is no constitutional or other legal right to smoke, even in one's own dwelling.
Guest
Guest
It's not a right to smoke

there is no constitutional or other legal right to smoke, even in one's own dwelling.
Guest
Guest
I smoke and I live in a condo.  There was no "non-smoking" or any other "nuisance clause" of any kind in the builders original HOA rules and regulations.  Believe me I want to stop smoking, it has already caused me serious health issues but there is no more addictive "drug" on either the legal or illegal market.
When reading the above spleen venting complaints, I have not read a single one of a person offering to help, in one way or another, to help the smoker quit for good.
All I have read is bitch, bitch, bitch.   I think I would be more motivated if those around me offered to help, in whatever way they could.  
I hate smoking.  And, I am sure a large percentage of heroin users would like to kick the habit.   I see a multitude of doctors at U.S. News and World Report ranking of the hospital  they practice and have their clinics and offices, only outranked by Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Everyone just shakes their head and treats me like a lost cause like an Ebola (or some other hemorrhagic fever patient).
I want help, not threats.  Help me to treat this disease instead of pitching a high pitched shrill complaint.   
Guest
Guest
I smoke and I live in a condo.  There was no "non-smoking" or any other "nuisance clause" of any kind in the builders original HOA rules and regulations.  Believe me I want to stop smoking, it has already caused me serious health issues but there is no more addictive "drug" on either the legal or illegal market.
When reading the above spleen venting complaints, I have not read a single one of a person offering to help, in one way or another, to help the smoker quit for good.
All I have read is bitch, bitch, bitch.   I think I would be more motivated if those around me offered to help, in whatever way they could.  
I hate smoking.  And, I am sure a large percentage of heroin users would like to kick the habit.   I see a multitude of doctors at U.S. News and World Report ranking of the hospital  they practice and have their clinics and offices, only outranked by Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Everyone just shakes their head and treats me like a lost cause like an Ebola (or some other hemorrhagic fever patient).
I want help, not threats.  Help me to treat this disease instead of pitching a high pitched shrill complaint.   
Guest
Guest
Wow. You have one commenter who’s obviously a MAGA conspiracy theorist, and another whining that people complain, and should offer help to the smoker to quit. You’re joking right!? Nobody can control your actions. If you want to quit, quit. I was a smoker for 20 years and quit with the help of nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches/gum). You can’t quit unless you WANT to quit. Again, nobody should have to suffer because you lack the willpower to quit smoking. Not only has smoking has been PROVEN to cause cancer. BUT SECONDHAND SMOKE HAS BEEN PROVEN TO CAUSE CANCER. So your addiction is LITERALLY causing those around you, to get cancer. And yet you want to whine that nobody is be doing over backwards to help you quit your “disease”!? You are seriously a piece of work. Heroin/alcohol addiction is NOWHERE near like nicotine addiction. Grow up. As for the rest of you dealing with the smoke through the walls, I’m right there with you. I unfortunately live in a complex run by slumlords, so as long as they’re getting their checks from the neighbors, they don’t care about WHAT goes on in here. I do actually live in one of the states where there is SMOKE FREE AIR laws in place and will be exploring remedies afforded by law. If any of you live in public housing, the USDA has prohibited smoking in ALL PUBLIC HOUSING. Even if it’s permitted in your lease, the USDA bans it. This obviously does not pertain to private housing, such as those run by individuals or companies. But if your rent is “income-based”, then most likely you would be covered by this USDA law, initiated in 2018.
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