Smoking Mad About the Neighbors
Bloomberg takes his anti-cigarette campaign right into your co-op Their selfishness literally seeps through the vents into our apartments. Oh, sure, I believe people have a legal right to smoke in their homes-if they keep their smoke within the confines of their apartments. That rarely happens. So let's think about a great big new in-the-apartment smoking ban. At least in my building. Granted, I'm cranky. My clothes smell like I've been clubbing in the 1980s. Is there a vent in my closet that I don't know about? Beyond my space, I noticed a few minutes ago while in the laundry room that the odor there shifts from that Tide smell to the building workers' cigarettes. There will be no cessation in the smoking debate in this town. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently unveiled the latest front in what amounts to his administrative war. He wants city apartment buildings officially to go on record as to whether smoking is permitted in all indoor and outdoor locations, including-here's the fun part-inside apartments. Some smokers are horrified their mayor is reaching into their apartments. Not me. I'm thrilled that rude behavior hostile to my health is finally up for debate. These days, I like the idea of a building where nobody is smoking, not even the scuzzy-looking people by the front door. Those folks always seem like they walked out of The Grapes of Wrath. These untouchables seem so displaced that I almost feel sorry for them. Almost. Mostly, these days, I feel sorry for me. Cause I cannot even figure out where the smoke is coming from. Granted, I'm not alone. The building management sent out an announcement last month about the issue. "Many neighbors have voiced concerns over the smoke that comes through the vents, doorways and windows of neighbors who smoke cigarettes," the flier said. "Secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous for asthmatics, the elderly and especially young children." Oh, asthma. Did I mention I was diagnosed with asthma after a couple of years in my building? Anyway, the building flier had three tips for residents: Smoke outside of the building; use a "smokeless ashtray," something I'm skeptical about, especially since the jerks in my building are not buying them; or "quit-that's the healthiest option for everyone." Critics, citing Bloomberg's no-smoking policy in restaurants and bars and now parks, say he's creating a nanny state. All I know is that I like breathing again. The mayor deserves credit for being largely ahead of his time on these issues. It only takes a visit to a city without these policies for a non-smoker to appreciate Nanny Bloomberg anew. I get that there is another side to this issue, but there's so much smoke in my apartment that I cannot see it clearly. Oh, and not to sound old-fashioned, I'm not thrilled with the marijuana smoke, either. Or, more specifically, the incense on my floor that's doing a lame-ass job of covering up the marijuana smoke. Sorry, smokers, but at least I admit to the ugly stuff in the recesses of my mind. Earlier today I was walking on West 38th Street. Strolling behind a smoker in an ugly jacket (he evidently spends his dough on cigs and not clothes) as the awful smell wafted back toward my nostrils and lungs, I actually began to wonder whether even that awful little moment should be legal. Why should this dude be able to smoke on a busy sidewalk? I want fresh air, or the nearest possible approximation offered in this big town. This is real life, not an episode of Mad Men. Christopher Moore is a writer living in Manhattan. He's available by email at [email@example.com](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) and also on Twitter (@cmoorenyc).
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