Drifting Smoke

Apartments and condominiums are all the rage in Greater Vancouver, with many West Coasters flocking to highrises and multi-unit residential buildings across the city. Many renters and prospective buyers are loving the views, the proximity to culture and transport, and the convenience of living in denser urban environments.

But for some, there’s a downside. It’s the unwanted tobacco smoke flowing into their dwelling from next door – otherwise known as drifting smoke.

Despite the fact that about 85 % of British Columbians don’t smoke, there are very few apartments and condos that offer smoke-free accommodations for people who want and need to breathe clean air. This is especially problematic for people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, infants and the elderly – all of who are especially at risk from the health consequences of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Although it’s legal to smoke, the right ends where another person is adversely affected by that action, says the tobacco education coordinator for the BC lung Association. Drifting smoke comes through open doors, windows, off balconies and patios, through vents and electrical outlets. Many poorly insulated buildings are not airtight, so you have the drift smoke.

There is no safe level of exposure.

According to the BC lung association, it’s a significant health issue for countless British Columbians.

At work, people are protected because it (second hand smoke) is a known health hazard. But at home, it’s still considered a mere inconvenience – in BC, one in five kids under the age of 12 are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in the home. It’s a difficult issue.

According th the BC Lung Association and the Clean Air Coalition of BC, it’s crucial that tenants know their rights, responsibilities and options.

It will remain a contentious issue, but increasingly, it’s one that British Columbians want resolved. There are a huge number of people in the lower mainland and across the province who live in multi-unit accommodations, and this issue directly impacts them.

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