Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Secondhand Smoke Leads Neighbors To Court
An article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL discusses the growing number of lawsuits over secondhand smoke filed by office- or apartment-dwellers against their neighbors. Residents who are sensitive to secondhand smoke from cigarettes have been filing suit against other residents who smoke, to block the smoke seeping through their walls and ceilings.

Similar suits are also being filed against landlords who continue to allow smoking in public buildings. Primarily, the offended neighbor just needs to prove the smoke is a nuisance and an irritation according to John Banzhaf of the Action on Smoking and Health.

Edward Sweda of the Tobacco Control Research Center in Massachusetts, who argued the first suit of this type in 1991, believes that these cases are becoming more prevalent because the average citizen doesn't have to file suit against the tobacco industry to seek results. "They're not having to confront a multibillion-dollar company with a phalanx of lawyers . . .It's a much more level playing field," Sweda said.

The Building Owners and Managers Association International, an office landlord and owner trade association, is advising its members to adopt non-smoking policies as often as possible. The association notes that 80 percent of the office buildings the group recently surveyed are smokefree, compared with 68 percent of buildings surveyed by the group two years ago.

Source(s): WALL STREET JOURNAL, (7/13/98). "Today, Where There's Smoke, There's a Neighbor's Lawsuit", Erin White, p. B1.


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