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Jennifer M., NV

In Nevada, where my boyfriend and I live, we don't have as many non-smoking rights as some other states, and people of course are allowed to smoke in casinos, and some multi-unit condos. We are facing a couple crises in Nevada, one is a housing shortage, where rents and ownership is so expensive now that many cannot afford to live here. The other is quality of air during the warmer and hotter summer months which is extremely toxic due to extended periods of wildfires. Most residents have air filters for this reason as staying inside during summer months is necessary.  

We live in a multi-unit condo with an association and each unit is considered sort of it's own entity. Some inhabitants rent and some own. We rent, and in our lease, we cannot smoke. We see signs saying no smoking, and to our ignorance we thought that the entire building was non-smoking. We now have found that you can smoke inside a unit if you own it, or if your landlord doesn't mind if you do. 

This winter, different from all other years, we found that a smoker moved downstairs from our unit, and his smoke is now infiltrating into our place when the heater is on. We have purchased 3 expensive air filters that read particles in the room, and changed filters in the heating vents. We still smell smoke and now our clothes and belongings have a faint smell of cigarettes that's noticeable when outside our unit. 

We contacted our property management, HOA, and landlord on this matter, but they all say that they have no jurisdiction over who smokes in their unit, but offered absolutely no solutions for us. They said no one can smoke in common places like hallways, or elevators, but this person's smoking can be strongly smelled in those areas even without smoking directly in them. We believe that the smoker downstairs is disturbing the peace, health, mental health, and stability of our domicile. We spoke with this man, and introduced ourselves, and let him know we were smelling his smoke, but he did not seem to care, and said that no one else was complaining. He greeted us at the door with a lit cigarette.

The health department has helped us with information on how to approach this situation, and have been so lovely and kind, but also advocates in our debacle. We are step by step going through one thing at a time to figure out how to make this building non smoking. We both don't have the money nor much time for all of this, like moving out, or even finding a lawyer, god forbid. And why should we have to move so that someone else can ruin our home and health and live here but we can't? This is a social justice, social work, and health issue that needs much work in the state of Nevada.

When I was a child, my grandparents smoked inside their home and my brother and I couldn't escape it. We sometimes lived with them, and stayed with them over the years. The fact that I was already subjected to second hand smoke for years, may have already given me irreversible damage to my lungs and brain. Now when I smell the stale smoke in my home, it causes depression, anxiety, memories of my childhood, and a feeling of instability. I have breathing issues in the morning upon waking, burning sinuses and eyes, and post nasal drip during the day. It is also embarrassing to have smoke soiled clothing around other non-smokers. This is deeply angering me every day, as it is a great injustice. It's our only retreat from the forest fire smoke to be inside, but then, to have your sanctity ruined by a cancer, and asthma causing bad habit of a neglectful neighbor, is absolute insanity. 

I would like to know if others out there are suffering in the same predicament, and how they have gone about solving issues for themselves. I have a great deal of compassion for those who are subjected to quality of air situations that they cannot control because local legislature gives free reign to building owners but not it's inhabitants. 

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