Neighbor’s Secondhand Smoke Seeps Into San Jose Condo

SAN JOSE (CBS 5) — A San Jose woman who invested in a luxury condominium is unable to live in her unit, overcome by her neighbor’s secondhand smoke.

It’s one of the crown jewels of downtown San Jose’s redevelopment: The Axis, a luxury residential high-rise.

But Yllka Masada wore a respirator when she took CBS 5 on a tour of her unit. She has temporarily moved out because she said every time her neighbor lights up, her condo fills with smoke.

It has been happening ever since she moved in last summer. “Many times I slept here on the floor like this, facing the door to the deck,” Masada said.

Stanford researcher Neill Klepeis set up a smoke monitor in Masada’s unit that generates a daily chart. “We see a very clear indication that there is secondhand smoke,” Klepeis said. “We can see that base level stays fairly small. But on top of that this peak of red particulate matter which has a pattern of every day when the neighbor comes home.”

Klepeis said, “They are approaching the levels you would see if you went into a smoky casino.” And he said it can linger at high levels, for up to 12 hours.

“It is just a nightmare. Something that I would never have thought would exist anywhere, not in this brand new high-rise building,” said Masada.

CBS 5 checked with the San Jose Planning Department and the Axis high rise was built to code. But current code requirements don’t prevent this kind of smoke leakage.

While Masada has an extreme case, a recent UC Berkeley study said no matter how much sealing or ventilating you do, it’s extremely difficult to prevent smoke from seeping from one unit into another.

That’s why health advocates such as Serena Chen at the American Lung Association work with building managers, developers and cities to promote smoke-free housing.

“There are no ventilation standards that have been invented yet that can protect you from your neighbor’s smoke,” says Chen. She added there is a high demand for condos and rentals that are in smoke-free buildings.

But Paul Zeger with Pacific Marketing Associates disagrees. “I can say with confidence that today there is no premium for a smoke-free building,” he said. Zeiger handles sales and marketing for the Axis building and dozens of other luxury high-rises all over the Bay Area.

“If you live in an urban area, you don’t live in a bubble. You’re going to be exposed to things,” he said.

But Chen said, “When it seeps out of their condo and trespasses into my unit, I think I have rights, breathing rights in my own condo.”

“I’m not saying that you have a right to smoke. I am saying that it’s a dilemma,” says Zeger. He says until cities make it illegal for people to smoke in apartments or condos: “If you don’t want to live in that environment, then your choice is to move out.”

But Masada said for her, that’s not an option. “It’s a crime to sell this unit to anybody. I will not do that,” she said.

The owners of the Axis turned down CBS 5 request for an interview. But they did give Masada a temporary unit to live in until the issue is resolved. And they have offered to conduct additional more invasive inspections to figure out what might be going wrong.

The city of San Jose does allow smoking in residential buildings, but unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County have passed an ordinance forbidding it. It won’t be fully implemented for another two years.

If you have a problem with your neighbor’s smoke you can contact Serena Chen at the American Lung Association at www.casmokefreehousing.org.

Breathe California in San Jose also has a local hotline at 408-999-0500.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Mad Mike says:

    So let’s see; the same people who said 20 years ago “We just don’t want people smoking in the workplace” are now going to start going after people for smoking in their homes because of some hypochondriac neighbors. You give an inch, they take a mile. I just can’t wait for theses types of do-gooders to start going after habits that are much more popular so that folks can get a taste of their own medicine…

    1. joe says:

      So you think smoking in the workplace was just fine I guess? And you ‘smoker’s rights’ people have NEVER given an inch. Those of us who you poison with your death-sticks have TAKEN ever inch.

    2. Sumit Masaun says:

      Mad Mike – Smoking is an ADDICTION, NOT a Habit !!

    3. Dean says:

      And notice it’s only TOBACCO smoke……not “medical” pot…..at least not yet.
      Once that happens we’ll see how hypocritical all the smoke-nazis are.

    4. SURVIVOR says:

      To all the smokers,
      I am an ex-smoker (30+ yrs. ago) and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007. My left lower lobe was removed and several lymph nodes. Fluid had collected around my heart and I had a heart procedure to drain it when my lobe was removed. My life changed dramatically. It was very painful and a long recovery. When I moved into my apartment 7 yrs. ago, my upstairs neighbor did not smoke. She moved a year ago and my new neighbors smoke. I smell it in my apartment daily and it makes me cough hard. My eyes are constantly irritated and red. As a lung cancer surivivor, I am at a higher risk for having it again. I live in fear every day because I am being exposed to the secondhand smoke poison that comes into my apartment. Because of my health issues, I lost my job and I cannot afford to move. We now know that secondhand smoke is especially toxic to children and I have 2 grandsons that visit me. I feel like a prisoner in my own apartment because I am afraid to leave my windows and patio door open. If you had survived lung cancer, perhaps your view of cigarette smoking would be different. I was lucky and I hope that sharing my experience will help others. Cigarettes are so addictive and harmful. Save yourself and go for help before it’s too late. We have a responsibility to make the environment healthy for everyone, especially the children. You can call me a do-gooder, but after being fortunate enough to live through cancer hell I believe I have a responsibility to tell people the truth about the effects of smoking.

    5. SP says:

      It is just that you are addicted to a drug. And as a drug user, your first reaction is to defend yourself and to attack others. Face it, admit your are under the influence of drugs and quit so others can live.

  2. Jim says:

    @Mad Mike: If you want to be a drug-addict (a.k.a. smoker), great. Keep it up and eliminate yourself from the gene pool. But don’t pollute my air. Once your pollution gets out of your home, you are contaminating public property (common air) and private property (my lungs).

    1. Lizzyman says:

      If you want to take it from that angle. How about you giving up your car or refraining from taking any air flights? The pollutants produced from internal combustion engines produce far more and far deadlier toxins than cigarettes.

      1. joe says:

        Good point, we need to do a better job making transportation less polluting… but it’s not the same. Transportation gives society benefits as well as the negatives. Tell me, what does your puffing on your cigarette do for anyone else? It’s your habit, and if you can do it without subjecting others to the ill effects, then great! Puff away. If not, sorry, you lose.

      2. Dean says:

        Lizzy people who use the “drug addict” approach (as tho alcohol and coffe aren’t addiictive drugs!) you know where they are coming from.
        What about a backyard bbq? We’ve already pretty much banned fireplaces. At some point we just have to say to the “health-nazis” ENOUGH!
        If you want pristine air etc go live in the mountains by yourself.

    2. Saphire says:

      Absolutely, do not force the nonsmokers to breathe in smoke from your addiction. Smokers will react because they must get their fix. I smoked many years ago and have been through cancer, chemo, etc., etc., (not pretty). There has to be a 100% BAN on smoking in multi-unit housing . This is critical. Children, pets, people with respiratory illnesses, cancer survivors, people with heart disease, and everyone else are affected by this. Please BAN the smoking in these units. Please.

  3. Fred says:

    Jim,
    Why are people like you so angry? Can’t people like you argue a point without being insulting or wishing someone’s demise?

    1. Dean says:

      Fred the reason there can’t be a logical polite argument or trying to live and let live is the fact that if you are manically anti-smoking you have emotional problems. Otherwise they wouldn’t throw out all the nasty names (drug addict etc) and try to realize that when you live in an urban environment you cannot have totally pristine air or no loud noise and many other things that are not healthy and annoying.

  4. SKath says:

    I am experiencing the same problem. i live in a San Jose apartment building and it has become a terrible problem with second-hand smoke drifting into my unit and it lingering there for hours causing me problems breathing. Smokers should be banned from smoking in condo/apartment buildings or at the very least, the buildings should be designed smoking and nonsmoking – something needs to change.

  5. Ted says:

    The greatest damage to the health of non-smokers caused
    by cigarette addicts occurs in multi-unit apartment buildings.
    Most people spend the greatest amount of their time at home;
    in what is supposed to be their safe refuge. There is no legitimate
    reason for allowing these addicts to inflict the byproducts of their
    addiction on non-smokers in that setting. There is no way to
    segregate smokers’ units from those of non-smokers in these
    buildings. Making smoking in multi-unit apartment buildings
    illegal is the necessary response. It requires only that smokers
    indulge their addiction outside the building. The science regarding
    second hand smoke is clear. Unfortunately, most elected officials
    have not had the the courage to give the health of the very large
    majority of citizens in these buildings priority over the behavior
    of a minority who are addicted to this deadly habit.

    1. dean says:

      How about making apts/condos either ALL smoking or ALL: non-smoking? Making all living units smoke free is not only unfair but imposible to enforce. Do you REALLY think the police are going to come over everytime you think you smell smoke?
      And the science on second hands smoke is VERY suspect. They claim that 50,00 people a year die from it (and by some mysterious cirumstance that number goes up every time a new smoking restriction is proposed), but I dare you to find me ONE person where it can be proved they were killed by it. yes it’a annoying to some people but you do not have a right to not be annoyed. and if you are TRULY allergic to it that si your problem. Would you demand a peanut free apartment if you were deathly allergic to peanuts? After all they are a “necessity”.

  6. Ted says:

    The greatest damage to the health of non-smokers caused
    by cigarette addicts occurs in multi-unit apartment buildings.
    Most people spend the greatest amount of their time at home
    in what is supposed to be their safe refuge. There is no legitimate
    reason for allowing these addicts to inflict the byproducts of their
    addiction on non-smokers in that setting. There is no way to
    segregate smokers’ units from those of non-smokers in these
    buildings. Making smoking in multi-unit apartment buildings
    illegal is the necessary response. It requires only that smokers
    indulge their addiction outside the building. The science regarding
    second hand smoke is clear. Unfortunately, most elected officials
    have not had the the courage to give the health of the very large
    majority of citizens in these buildings priority over the behavior
    of a minority who are addicted to this deadly habit.

  7. Philip Scharfy says:

    The “victim” is a control freak

    1. joe says:

      Perhaps. Does it make the point any less valid?

      1. Dorian Shafer says:

        It shouldnt make her a control freak for wanting the right to have smoke free housing. Her complaint is a very vaild one. This issue that the city of San Jose should recoginze and they dont it could turn into a health harzard. Everyone knows they second hand smoke is just as dangerous a first hand smoke. A person and their family should be able to live smoke free eniviroment.

  8. IMPACTED says:

    There is no doubt first hand cigarette smokes. There is no doubt second hand cigarette smoke kills. A smoker’s rights end where my nose begins. Living in a high rise in SF it is impossible to breath or function when neighbors start smoking. Smoke has no boundaries. Regardless – it is a carcinogenic killer. Smokers can smoke -0 as long as they don’t effect others. Laws may have to become even more stringent.

    1. IMPACTED says:

      meant to say “There is no doubt first hand smoke kills

  9. Bruce says:

    I’m still waiting for the Progressivists to simply advocate that tobacco be banned entirely, permanently, for everybody. Alcohol, too. After all, both substances are dangerous & addictive, & both substances have severe repercussions for American public health. But this won’t happen, because we all know that Prohibition is a stupid, wasteful policy, so there’s no need to expand an already pointlessly idiotic Drug War to new heights of absurdity.

    It’s also interesting that tobacco smokers are being told they should be forced out of their own apartments, but then when they do go outside, they’re told they can only smoke in “designated” areas, such that you might have to entirely leave the area of your apartment just to have a cigarette. Some day soon you’ll have to leave the county entirely.

    1. jossanfran says:

      don’t you think they might have a point, we do not want to breathe the poison, period.

    2. IMPACTED says:

      No! Their rights end where non-smokers’ noses begin. It is a known carcinogenic killer. A drunk is not force feeding you alcohol. Get real

  10. Biker says:

    Federal, State and County officials need to stop telling people what they can and can’t do in the privacy of their own homes. So if something your neighbor is doing bothers you, well then,,, MOVE!

    1. stkyricesf says:

      I agree. But these people aren’t into compromise. It was recommended that there be smoking and non smoking apartment buildings and businesses (bars). Of course this was unacceptable to non smokers! Their argument, they were being discriminated from going where they want to. Just can’t please them.

    2. joe says:

      Biker, there’s a serious problem with your logic. You are NOT doing it in the privacy of your own home if what you’re doing enters someone else’s home. You’re forcing it to be their business at that point.

  11. Jen says:

    Perhaps this problem would have been solved had they sold the condos based on smoking floors and non-smoking floors. Smokers would live on the same floor and their smoke would not bother each other, non-smokers would live on the same floor and not be bothered by anyone else’s smoke.

    Although I can’t believe anyone still smokes these days. That’s so unhealthy and old-fashioned. And expensive, too.

    1. joe says:

      Depends on the building. Our smoke problem comes from apartment right below us. It’s really common that the problem unit isn’t even on the same floor.

    2. NONSMOKER says:

      Remember – Non smoking and smoking sections in planes?. The entire plane was putrid. For non-smokers in apartment complex the greatest threat comes when they are asleep and the irresponsible smoker sneaks out and lights up. Unbeknown to the non-smoker they are ingesting this carcinogenic waste and their health is at risk. Sleep at your own risk. We are probably doing smokers a favor by restricting their range. We are certainly helping others – babies, young, infirm, etc. etc.

    3. GHale says:

      In our condo the smoke seems to come from the unit below us. If smoking were banned inside the building, that would cease (as long as the smoke wasn’t sucked into an air handler).

  12. jimster says:

    I have a great idea. Lets ban tobacco. How do you think that will work?

    1. jackie says:

      seeing the it can destroy your lungs, why not. I have the same problem in my complex. I thought I was crazy when I kept smelling tobacco every evening and every morning, even when I went to bed. That’s not something I desire to smell, in my own living space. But what can I do?

      1. Dean says:

        Yop cannot “keep” smelling tobacco smoke or anything else.
        After approimately 5 minutes the nasal receptors become saturated and you don’t notice it.
        But it makes a good story when you want to beat up on smokers.

  13. Ruger says:

    I wonder what the smoking laws are in Yllka’s country of origin.

  14. Barry says:

    First off, I’m not a smoker but perhaps she should have discussed the problem with her neighbor. There are options to eliminate smoke from the air, or at least reduce it to a tolerable level. People are far too quick to ask for government intervention in their lives. Take some responsibility for yourself and try to handle things. The more rights we asked to be taken away because they don’t effect us personally the more we empower governments to impact our quality of life down the road. More and more legislation is not the answer to our problems. Something I find distasteful about your habits or lifestyle could easily be taken away as well. In essence stop be weaklings.

    1. joe says:

      1. There is no tolerable level of second-hand smoke.
      2. Telling the non-smoker in a 2nd-hand smoke dispute to “take some responsibility” is a ridiculous statement.
      3. Creating airborne health hazards is not a “right” — and anywhere that it currently is will eventually change or be sued into oblivion…. and rightfully so.
      4. Why not pick a better battleground (one where you have a leg to stand on) to rally against the over-reach of government?

  15. AJ Buttacavoli says:

    I rent and I always make sure to have a first floor apartment so there is no smoking below and it has always worked out fine.

  16. Hugo Gonzales says:

    I live in Axis and have no issues. I was told by the smoker that is the neighbor of the claimant, that she was voluntarily going to stop smoking and the claimant told her to continue smoking? And the complex has tried to buy her out and she does not want to sell? What does this look like?

    1. NONSMOKER says:

      The buyer needs to offer her more money? What value your health?

  17. mel says:

    “It’s a crime to sell this unit to anybody. I will not do that,” she said.

    But I’ll bet she’ll have no problem suing the property owners!

  18. M Feliciano says:

    Pretty soon they are going to start telling people what they can or cannot do in their home. Sad when some people are trying to take ourrights way. This is supposed to be a free country. w
    WHAT HAS HAPPENED

    1. Residents for Smoke-Free Living says:

      M Feliciano,
      The thing is that rights are being taken away every day. What about our right to breathe fresh air where we live? What about our right to a habitable unit and quiet enjoyment? What about our right to open our windows? We need to win the rights back for the thousands of Californians who lost their freedom and right to breathe fresh air where they live. To my knowledge, breathing doesn’t harm others — while smoking does.

      Nothing against smokers, my dear brother is one. Sure, if he needs it he should have a place to smoke, but only where it doesn’t harm other people.

      1. Jean says:

        Thanks for being a voice of reason in this controversy.

  19. tony says:

    Maybe she should buy an air purifier (or two).

    1. Residents for Smoke-Free Living says:

      Nice thought Tony, I wish it was easy as that. Unfortunately air purifiers do nothing to protect our health from secondhand smoke.

  20. LARRY says:

    I HIGHLY recommend “FreshAir” Purifiers by VOLLARA! These can be purchased at: http://www.MyVollara.com/LarryQ

  21. Peace says:

    Simple solution. Put all the low life smelly smokers in one room and let them kill off eachother.

    1. Out says:

      Yeah, because smokers totally deserve to be killed. I mean, what a horrible horrible thing to do…to smoke. What a travesty worse than the Holocaust, worse than pedophilia, pretty much the worst thing in the world.

      1. Lil Wahine says:

        Hey Out, Smokers are kiiling themselves and others around them so yes, they do deserve to be gone to stop hurting others.

      2. Get Out, Out says:

        Out, no one brought up the Holocaust or pedophilia, you put those associations together yourself. Really classy. Peace was just making the point that smokers choose death over life already, and that they don’t have a right to make that decision for others around them.

  22. Jim Bob says:

    smoking is no longer cool.

  23. J Fitch says:

    This is about the effects of one person’s behavior endangering other people. Smokers are not inherently evil. They are addicted to a really awful product. I think they absolutely have the right to do what they want to their own body (assuming they are informed adults), However, by it’s nature, tobacco smoke drifts and when it drifts, it becomes a public health issue.

    The analogy to drinking is always an interesting one to me. Yes, you can legally get as drunk as you want in your own home. However, if you get very noisy and disturb your neighbors or get into a car and potentially kill someone else, the law steps in to protect the public from the negative side effects from the individual’s behavior. How is this any different from regulating where people can smoke?

    The issue is drifting smoke, not personal behavior. If someone could smoke in a little bubble that completely contained their smoke, then I’d say, ” do what you want to your own body”. But since secondhand smoke drifts and has been shown to trigger heart attacks, asthma and cause cancer in non-smokers, it becomes a public health issue when that smoke drifts into areas where other people are.

  24. Axis Resident says:

    I also live in the Axis and have no problems at all. It is a great place to live and the quality of construction and quality of life here is first rate.
    While I empathize with the core issue at debate – this lady is a total NUT JOB and infamous for being so among the Axis community. She wears her “SARS” mask everywhere and complains constantly about the “toxic” conditions in the building to everyone that has the unfortunate timing of being on the same elevator ride.
    I, along with several of my neighbors, encourage her to exercise her rights and move. We are all tired of her extremism and insanity polluting our wonderful community.

    1. Miser says:

      Axis Resident. Good for you that you do share walls with a smoker. This women does and it is clearly affecting her health. She has the right to share her story just like you do. Calling her names is not making you look any better.

      1. Happy Axis Homeowner says:

        I am not a smoker either so I’d be more than happy for California to adopt even stricter smoking laws. However, I agree with “Axis Resident” above. The builder/developer has attempted to resolve the issue with her directly many times. In order to do so, they need to access her unit to investigate further. She has either refused each attempt or cancelled the appointment at the last minute. They have offered to buy her out, yet she has refused that recourse.

        In the meantime, the HOA is working diligently to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. To that end, they have contacted the researcher named above to more fully explore the root of the problem.

    2. Jean says:

      To the “problem free” Axis resident – Assuming your accusation of her being a “nut job” is correct, this “nut” has succeeded in pointing out the continuing problem of second hand smoke. Perhaps if there were more “nuts” like her, there would have been better controls on forced exposure to others’ tobacco smoke, better building standards and we wouldn’t still be arguing.

  25. Ramona says:

    She needs a good attorney to sue to pants off of this condo association AND get California to change their smoking laws.

    1. Happy Axis Homeowner says:

      Meant to post this here.

      I am not a smoker either so I’d be more than happy for California to adopt even stricter smoking laws. However, I agree with “Axis Resident” above. The builder/developer has attempted to resolve the issue with her directly many times. In order to do so, they need to access her unit to investigate further. She has either refused each attempt or cancelled the appointment at the last minute. They have offered to buy her out, yet she has refused that recourse.

      In the meantime, the HOA is working diligently to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. To that end, they have contacted the researcher named above to more fully explore the root of the problem.

  26. Marlena says:

    A smoker chooses to smoke so they should be obligated to make sure their smoke does not come into contact with others.

    Companies that put out similar carcinogens pay fines to the affected residents.

  27. Marta says:

    We need to build better building. In an old building you will not get your neighbor’s smoke. And now this “luxury” apartment seems like well painted chicken barn.

  28. Jim says:

    When my neighbors light up weather legal stuff or otherwise it comes in our bedroom window in our apartment. I reach for the remote and set my Fresh Air Purifier on high and in a short time the smoke is gone. You can learn more about the Fresh Air Purifiers at http://www.whatsinyourair.com You can also contact me through the site.. Good Luck to All Dealing With This Issue

  29. Residents for Smoke-Free Living says:

    I applaud CBS for covering this story. i live in an apartment complex where i am forced to breathe secondhand smoke every day. I have to seal off parts of my apartment rendering them unusable. I wake up coughing. Breathing is involuntary, while smoking is a behavior choice. Smoke knows no boundaries. As soon as a person’s behavior choice negatively impacts another person, it is public domain and should be treated as a public nuisance. Smoking should be treated at a minimum as noise is in our communities — as a nuisance and dealt with accordingly. Multi-Unit Housing Communities need to catch-up with demand and start offering more smoke-free options for living. Our children don’t need to suffer unnecessarily from asthma. We CA taxpayers don’t need to waste billions of our dollars paying the health care bills because of a few who choose to light up. Our bodies can’t afford it, nor can our communities.

  30. 510 Free From Tobacco says:

    In a time where it has been scientifically proven that there exists such a thing as third-hand smoke, a second-hand smoke issue shouldn’t be a hard debate. Not only do I agree that it would be a “crime” to sell her condo with her current neighbor to another unsuspecting potential non-smoker, but I would go so far as to say that her neighbor’s condo should only go to someone who is okay with being exposed to the direct smoking impact it is currently enduring. Cigarette smoke has more than 4,000 dangerous chemicals in it, including FORTY different carcinogens. FORTY different cancer-causing agents that literally break apart your DNA and leave your body’s proteins to try and patch up the strands. I don’t want that lingering on my ceiling and walls, under my carpet and floorboards, and I DEFINITELY don’t want it freshly creeping into my apartment through vents and lighting system! This woman’s experience is evidence demonstrating a need for a serious movement toward smoke-free multi-unit housing!

    1. Dean says:

      There is no actual evidence that thrid hands smoke either exists or is a hazard.
      This can be easily proven: If you’ve been around people who reek of pot smoke do you get high? Of course not. I drive a transit bus and am subject to random drug tests. I am constantly around people who reek of pot yet I’ve never failed a drug test.
      Third hands smoke is just the latest BS from the smoke-nazis

  31. Skeptic says:

    To those AXIS residents who chose to verbally attack their neighbor in a public forum, either you are seriously cold or you have ulterior motives. I doubt this lady is disrupting your everyday lives. Could it be that you are upset because you see the resale value decreasing of your overpriced condo as a result of this story and you are afraid of what else is going to be exposed as this inevitably progresses to legal action? You better hope you are right about the “first rate” quality construction because we all know that it will likely be inspected with a fine tooth comb by a 3rd party, and if there is anything substandard found, you can bet everyone will know about it.

    1. Greg says:

      You made a very good point and the neighbors that are attacking do NOT live next to a smoker so they do NOT understand what is going on except that they
      are afraid the resale will drop . If you never lived in a high rise appartment you do NOT now what to look for and this will open some eyes .

    2. PrivateCitizenPublicPerson says:

      Skeptic – meet a fellow skeptic.

      As a proud owner in the AXIS building, I also have experienced the socially disruptive claimant, Yllka Masada, in the common areas. Her alienating behavior does nothing to endear even natural sympathizers to her cause.

      Many in the building are completely and unequivocally in favor of a non-smoking living environment. Moreover, many non-smoking owners were taken by surprise that the building was not non-smoking to begin with. There is a natural interest in improving the quality of life for current and future owners.

      So while there is a groundswell of support to amend the condominium rules, Yllka’s alienating behavior toward members of the HOA [I am not a member] and toward other concerned neighbors suggest that while her issue may no doubt be entirely legitimate, she has a separate behavioral issue that is not neighborly. It has gotten so bad that many of us have a nickname for her: Bilka. She’s clearly out to bilk many people for a construction issue that was proved to be built and inspected to be in code.

      1. Yllka says:

        Hello Skeptic,
        I am not an alienating one but you and others like you who are dragged by the leash of the HOA president and the other under his leash and blind folded both your eye and mines. I feel sorry for all of you and I just wonder if you truly know that you are alive. So try to find a nickname for you and others like you and don’t bother finding nicknames for me.
        As for the truth about everything including the construction/infiltration/HVAC issues being build to code or not that all will be proven in the court of law and very soon. You all and the world will see that this so called Axis building is just a sugar coated poison pill.
        And will see how happy you will be when you find out that even your unit too even though today it does not smell from the extreme second hand cigarette smoke contamination it is unsafe to live in. So let the time, facts, data, the truth speak. I wonder what your comments would be than.

      2. Yllka says:

        Hello PrivateCitizenPublicPerson

        I am not an alienating one but you and others like you who are dragged by the leash of the HOA president and the other under his leash and blind folded both your eye and mines. I feel sorry for all of you and I just wonder if you truly know that you are alive. So try to find a nickname for you and others like you and don’t bother finding nicknames for me.
        As for the truth about everything including the construction/infiltration/HVAC issues being build to code or not that all will be proven in the court of law and very soon. You all and the world will see that this so called Axis building is just a sugar coated poison pill.
        And will see how happy you will be when you find out that even your unit too even though today it does not smell from the extreme second hand cigarette smoke contamination it is unsafe to live in. So let the time, facts, data, the truth speak. I wonder what your comments would be than.

    3. Yllka Masada says:

      Hello Sceptic,

      Thank you very much for your support. Yes. you are correct. All will be proven in the court of law and very soon. I have filed the law suit in May 25th 2011 and it felt good, a shining light in the hardkness of the horrow that I am living through since the day I moven in my unit 520 at axis building. I felt a step closer to finding justice. The world will see that this so called Axis building is just a sugar coated poison pill and all those who did this to me will be brought to justice. The justice will be served and I hope very soon.

      Oh, and my replies bellow are both for the PrivateCitizenPublicPerson only.
      Not for you.

      Thank you again to you an to everyone who understand what I am going through and supports me. Thank you, Yllka

  32. Jacque says:

    My husband and I were forced to move from a condo above a smoking neighbor and then sell the unit back in 2000. This story is not an isolated incodent. I talk to people all over the country every day who are dealing with this problem. Our health is ruined and we struggle with what to do with the unit. Like this lady you don’t want to put someone else’s life in jeapardy. Not to mention the cost of moving again. When you live in multi-family housing you can’t do anything and everything you want, especially when it affects the other residents and their health. Disclosure laws are needed to require all condo sales to include the facts and where smoking is allowed BEFORE people buy.

  33. Tisme says:

    Particles in tobacco smoke are too small to be cleaned by any air filter. Even if some of the smell is removed, the toxic chemicals are not. Smoke drifts, smoke kills. If you have never been disturbed by your neighbor’s smoke, you are lucky. But there are many people who have had heart attacks, asthma attacks and even died from secondhand smoke exposure. For those of you who do not believe secondhand smoke kills, read this: http://blogpublic.lib.msu.edu/index.php/2008/02/09/michigan-bar-employee-dies-from-second-h?blog=5
    I feel sorry for people who are addicted to smoke, but even sorrier for those who are around them. What you do in the privacy of your home is one thing, but if your smoking is drifting into your neighbor’s house, it is no longer a private act. You are threatening your neighbor’s health. That should never be allowed.

  34. Dean says:

    I still want to see One, just ONE death certificate where the “cause of death” is ETS (environmental tobacco smoke).
    The whole second hand smoke thing came to be when they couldn’t beat up on smokers any other way. Annoying yes, deadly no. Now we’ve got THIRD hand smoke. Good GOD what a load that is. So now if you SMELL smoke on someone or something it’s going to kill you. How many of you have smelled someone who reeked of pot? Did you get high? Did you fail a drug test? Of course not. What’s next….FOURTH hand smoke? If someone THINKS about smoking it’s gonna kill you?

  35. Danix2 says:

    I suffer from asthma due to my mother smoking. I am 35 and have not lived with her for 19 years. Anytime I pass by someone who is smoking, I go into a coughing fit. The longevity of it depends on the close proximity I come to. Working with the public in a retail establishment and needing to grocery shop, etc., I realize I will have to deal with it. But being in my own home, apartment or otherwise, I shouldn’t have to. Lucky for me, my apt. manager has made it clear that the smokers go away from the buildings so as not to disturb us non- smokers. Btw, her husband is a smoker and he has to go away from the buildings also.

    1. Jean says:

      Danix2 – What a great idea! Until City Councils wake up to protect non smokers in condos and apartments, there could be outside designated “smoking areas”, well downwind from any residences. They could include comfy chairs, and protection from the rain & sun. The smokers could provide a support group help one another stop smoking — something most smokers want to do due to the cost, ensuing health problems and social reactions.

  36. jasmine says:

    teapot- How come there is no insulation between the walls?! then it is not just smoke, but fire or diseases can easily pass through from one resident to the whole building! how come there was no inspectation done before the owner started selling the condos? has the ownder/builder done anything to fix the condo for this lady and other residents in the building? does the owner inform potential buyers about this? i will forward this to all my friends, relatives and co-workers and inform them to watch out

    1. Winnie says:

      Jasmine made a very good point!
      Wouldn’t the insulation between the walls prevent the smoke going from unit to another unit? It is something to be investigated about the construction of those walls in Yllka’s case. I have never heard of an apartment where smoke comes through the walls from another unit until this story. If a neighbor smokes, smoke usually just somehow pass in through little cracks of the window (not through the walls!) to another unit I would think. Frankly, even that little bit of smoke through the window crack can really sting.

  37. Greg says:

    I agree with Jasmine that its NOT just second hand smoke your should be afraid of But if
    they ever have a fire in one unit . it will no doubt spreed to other units VERY fast . This buildings
    floors are made of comment so good luck getting out with all the smoke from the fire . You can never
    agree with a smoker so do not bother and go after the inspectors that let this happen . If your look at
    this a different way instead of arguing back and fourth and invent a system that will eliminate second hand
    smoke they you will be the next multimillionaire .

  38. Greg says:

    Sorry I noticed I misspelled some words like the floors are made of cement but you get the point . We will NEVER agree on this between smokers rights and non-smokers so we need to come up with a buyers rights and work on a system that will remove smoke from rooms that have smokers puffing away . If I
    smoked I would be upset to when it comes to smoking in my own home and someone wants me to stop . We all need to look at both sides and come up with
    a good answer . Bottom line is that building codes should be changed to address this problem .

  39. Andy says:

    This is fixable, that is getting the smole out of Yllka’s unit.

  40. MIchelle says:

    For future units should be built to block out any smoke from adjoining units and no smoking should be allowed outside of their own personal space. No one wants to take responsibility for the problems. I know my health has suffered in the short 6 months I have lived below a smoker. I have a cough I cannot get rid of etc. We need help. I’ve never smoked in my entire life to stay healthy. If they want health issues OK but don’t pass it along to me!!

  41. Mad Mike says:

    Reading these comments is comical. Some of you need to be fitted for space suits to be protected from all the worlds evils. And once again I reiterate: I can’t wait until the do-gooders come after habits that are more mainstream (what happens if they find out COFFEE aromas cause cancer, hmmmm) and you get a taste of your own medicine….just saw a story about a woman who has flowers in SF that is being forced to get a permit because a neighbor complained, do you SEE where this stuff is going?

  42. Ellen Prior says:

    I live in an apartment where I am made sick by smoke coming into my dwelling and the air purifier is only slightly helping. The neighbor next door obviously next door does not seem to care about their own health or my familys, so what are we to do? It is a shame that San Jose officials will not get laws on the books to protect our citizens to atleast be able to breath clean air when they sleep-Sad in San Jose

  43. Esther S. says:

    Unfortunately, there is no way to keep smoke from moving from one unit to another unless you build each individual unit to be air tight like a space ship. That would be pretty expensive. Most California adults don’t smoke. The smoking rate is below 14%. And of those who are still smoking, according to the American Lung Association, 70% would like to quit. Smoke-Free apartments and condos would not only protect everyone who doesn’t smoke. It would also help those who want to quit. Tobacco smoke is a gas. It expands to fill the space available to it. It can move through ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical systems and even through microscopic cracks in walls and floors.
    Unfortunately, air purifiers might reduce the smell but cannot protect against the gases in tobacco smoke. According to the latest U.S. Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke, there are 7,000 chemicals in it, and 70 can cause cancer.
    If we can reduce our exposure to one pollutant, isn’t it worth making apartments and condos non-smoking?

    1. Jean says:

      Esther – I agree with Greg that smokers (that lonely hard case 14 %) can’t understand how much their smoke hurts 2nd hand smokers. But perhaps Mad Mike (or others) would benefit from hearing the source of your comments about the pervasiveness of tobacco smoke. It might reduce his ranting about the deadly plague and CO2…or maybe not.
      I live in a condominium where 2nd hand smoke is also a hot issue – lack of firewalls, poor design and a fearful Board contributed to two of my next door neighbors moving due to a pack of smokers below.

    2. Saphire says:

      You may be right about the smoking rate in California being below 14%. I have not checked on this. If it is below 14% one would wonder how bad it is in other states becasue as I look around, people are lighting up everywhere and a lot ( I live in California). There are smokers all around and nonsmokers have to breathe in this toxic smoke.

  44. Mad Mike says:

    ” Tobacco smoke is a gas. It expands to fill the space available to it. It can move through ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical systems and even through microscopic cracks in walls and floors.” I love these descriptions that make it seem like a deadly plague seeking out victims and killing them on the spot…..and to send hypochondriacs everywhere into a tizzy, which is exactly the response wanted. Every single one of you omit CO2 which is a poison, so therefore I demand to be protected from it! Everyone should be forced to wear helmets that filter out the CO2!

  45. Juan says:

    It is shocking to know that the smoke can leak from walls to another unit. I have never heard that before. I know yllka well and I know her health was badly affected by the smoke in her unit. Her life has been in a mess since she moved into that unit. From the comments, it is obvious that it is not only Yllka who is seriously affected by smoking but also many other people. Something should be done to protect people from the second hand smoking in homes.

  46. Citizen says:

    Though highlighting the similarities between the impacts of smoking tobacco and that of other controlled substances (alcohol and other drugs) is valid as critical analysis of the issue, there is no fair comparison to tobacco as it impacts urban inhabitants in real-life. There is no constitutional right to smoke, and in the same breath, there is no law prohibiting property owners from controlling smoking on their property. In this way, “smoker’s rights” are effectively this society’s show of acceptance of the Tobacco Industry into our lives and cultures, and a de facto protection for an industry that offers a product with a scientifically proven method of killing their very own target market.

  47. LARRY says:

    I have a dear friend, who is surrounded by smokers in the apartment complex where she and her asthmatic son live. When she told me that the cigarette smoke and smell was seeping into her apartment (through the air vents and doors!) there was “no escaping” this filthy and unhealthy irritant! In 2009: she bought the “FreshAir Surround” air purifier by VOLLARA for her living room; and one, “FreshAir Box” for each bedroom (2). Ever since that time: she and her son have NOT had to smell (or breathe!) ANY toxic cigarette smoke that her neighbors permeate the area with. REAL RELIEF! “FreshAir” purifiers are proven to ELIMINATE Smoke, Odors and many other contaminants. In addition: these wonderful air purifiers are germ-killing, and superior to any other filterless purifiers! They can be found at: http://www.MyVollara.com/LarryQ

  48. Saba J. says:

    First if all, let’s make an argument for victim of second-hand smoke, Yllka Masada. She has every right to enjoy her life in her fancy apartment. When a cigarette is smoked, about half of the smoke is inhaled/exhaled by the smoker and the other half floats around in the air; that is why there’s a problem in The Axis building. Masada’s complains are understandable, because it will definitely affect her health, even though she doesn’t smoke at all. She would most likely get Lung Cancer, or Heart Disease, or Chest Infections (e.g. Bronchitis and Pneumonia). Thank God she doesn’t have any children living with her or else they would have Asthma Attacks & Chest Infections and need time off from school.
    Despite all of these disadvantages, I think, she shouldn’t have complained about this in public, because it’s owner’s decision whether he has a smoke-free house or not; and if the dwellers of this condo doesn’t like the smoke, it’s their problem. “It’s a crime to sell this unit to anybody,” as Masada said at the end of the interview is just understandable. I don’t see any crime here; maybe she doesn’t have any other reason why she shouldn’t move out. The owner seems pretty cool with the fact that there are smoker dwellers in his building; and no one has a right to force him to have a smoke-free edifice.
    But after all, I would strongly recommend the owner/manager to make his condo Smoke-Free and here’s why: it would remove dwellers health risks associated with smoke, youth members would less likely to begin smoking, the air in the building would smell cleaner/fresher/better, it would lower the chances of fire, the food would taste better, insurance rates may be lower, etc.

  49. LARRY says:

    POLLUTION SOLUTION: “FreshAir” Purifiers by VOLLARA are SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to ELIMINATE SMOKE (and many other contaminants!) leaving fresher, cleaner, SAFER air to breathe! See, “ENVIRONMENTAL PURITY” at: http://www.MyVollara.com/LarryQ

  50. S. H. Mann says:

    I live in a very nice retirement community. Second hand smoke is making my living here a danger to my health, my life and making my life very miserable. I live on second floor. Thee are two residents on this floor making everyone else miserable. Have called the city inspector. Turned into a political fiasco with him saying just a disagreement between neighbors. I have discussed this with my doctor who says my breathing and lung condition has gotten worse and doesn’t understand why. It is breathing secondhand smoke. Lady next door sleeps until afternoon an smokes from late evening until after midnight. Next lady gets up at 4 or 5 am and smokes off and on until after 6 pm. One lady on thts floor has had to go to ER coughing so much she has a torn esophagus and has to have pureed food now. The manager has made visits to both apartments and has not been able to “CATCH” them and says until she does she can’t do anything about it. One lady is 84 and says she drinks vodca and cranberry juice everyday at 4 pm with her cigerettes. Denies anyother time. Other lady is on pain management and states she uses “hard drugs” for pain. Both safety hazards along with smoking. The lease contract says loud noises, any thing disturbing the peace of others is forbidden. Second hand smoke is disturbing the peace of others. I have air purifiers. That’s a joke. That does not stop the chemicals from the smoke from coming into my apartment.The surrounding towns all have banned smoking. The one where I live has not banned anything. We need insurance companies to charge big premiums to apartments who rent to smokers or other wise government should ban smoking in apartments. My small grandchildren visit me. It is very harmful to them.

  51. LARRY says:

    I have a dear friend – who is surrounded by smokers (and their habit) in the apartment complex where she and her asthmatic son live. When she told me that the cigarette smoke (and smell) was seeping into her apartment (through the air vents and doors!), there seemed to be “no escape” from the filthy and unhealthy irritants her neighbors were causing and generating! There was, and is, a solution to the pollution however! In 2009: she bought one, “FreshAir Surround” air purifier (by VOLLARA!) for her living room area (her cat even loves it!); and one, “FreshAir Box” for each of her two bedrooms. Ever since that time: she and her son have NOT had to breathe (or smell!) ANY more toxic tobacco smoke! She, and her son, continue to enjoy a clean and healthy sanctuary, of FRESH AIR! “FreshAir” purifiers are proven to ELIMINATE SMOKE, ODORS, and many other contaminants in the air (and on surfaces!) These wonderful air purifiers are (also) Germ-Killing, utilizing “ActivePure,” and are “Certified in Space” technology. “Fresh Air” purifiers are far Superior to other so-called “purifiers” on the market today! You can order “FreshAir” today, with confidence, for better health… http://www.MyVollara.com/LarryQ

  52. Freethechump says:

    I live in NYC and its the worst. Is there anywhere the smoker does not have a right to smoke. They smoke as they walk the crowded street, they smoke in the subway ingress, egress tunnels and elevators, they smoke at the stop signs and the bus queues, MTA platforms, they smoke up and down their apartments, bathrooms, in front of their neighbors windows, the building entrance way, the office buildings, the restaurant and bar entrances. They throw their cigarette butts on the sidewalks, under the hallway heaters, in the window awnings, in the flower pots in the apartment gardens. Exactly where is it they don’t smoke? The City, State and federal governments are bought by cigarette companies. If that were not true we would not have these malformed human beings all over the place. SMokers you are controlled by a tobacco company. You are not free you are enslaved to them.

  53. Tiff says:

    Wow! I actually googled this to try to find any solutions. I too, live in hi rise on the beach in Corpus Christi, Tx. I love my condo, adore my view and have been here problem free until very recently when my nightmare began with this smoking issue. It has greatly deminished the quality of my life. I have severe asthma and it has been impossible to live in my unit. I’ve bought air purifiers, called building maint. I’m not sure if someone moved in that smokes or if it is a guest (I can only hope). Anyway, I am at my wits end. I am taking so much medication, steriods and my lungs feel like they are going to explode. I am not a mean or unstable person as mentioned above, I am just a person with already failing health who deserves to enjoy my home without being sick all thw time b/c of another persons! Unhealthy habits. With that being said, there are many people in this building who smoke, however; they smoke outside on their balcony or outdoors…not inside the building. I don’t think that is such a big deal. Why would anyone want their home or comnon areas to smell like that anyway would be my next question. ???

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