I live in an apartment building, on the second floor. Now that it is nice outside, I have noticed a very frustrating problem - when windows are open, I frequently smell cigarette smoke in our apartment.

Looking at the patio of the downstairs neighbor below makes it clear where this is coming from.

This smell bothers my allergies fairly significantly, ignoring any health effects.

The apartment has very poor circulation of air so in the summer, leaving the windows open is desirable. The windows face west, so it becomes very warm in the afternoon sun without cooling.

It would be absolutely wonderful to find a way to avoid having to shut them all summer. The door faces into the building, but there is a window in the common space so I could pull air through our apartment on days wind blows that way. Some of the options which I have thought about:

  • Try to find out which apartment they are and talk with them (not sure what I'd say though - there aren't really good places to smoke nearby)
  • Running the AC all summer (this would be expensive.. and feel lame when it's only 75°F (23.8°C) outside)
  • Trying to run the furnace fan to circulate air out somehow(?)
  • Talk with property manager (this is a bad idea I think...)

Are there other options I'm missing here?

  • I guess there is no other way. If the smoke is in, it's in. Preventing it from coming in does also bring negative effect to circulation. If sun is going directly on this window, you might cover it while you don't need sunlight make your apartment warming up slower. Give fresh air at night, keep it closed at day, if possible.
    – jawo
    Apr 30, 2015 at 5:33

2 Answers 2


table fan

You could try using a table fan like the one above near the commonplace window. I'm not exactly sure how the setup of your apartment is, but this technique may work. I use it at my place because the air is sometimes too still and it gets stuffy in my apartment.

glass mounted exhaust fan

Another option could be to use a glass mounted exhaust fan that you could place on your window that faces West to pull the air out from the commonplace window. (I'm sure you'll find better looking alternatives than the one linked.)

  • This isn't a terrible idea, could put a large box fan blowing out on the screen door (where the worst smoke comes in, it's right above the location the smoker is at) and pull air through the apartment from the bedroom windows. Too bad it's a screen door, and not a vertically opening window - be nice to just have the fan opening. Not sure I want to rig up a frame to only pull warm air from the top of the room :)
    – enderland
    May 2, 2015 at 15:23

I used tape around the window frame. I’m extremely sensitive to tobacco smoke. My doctor said so and all. In winter months with aversion, in Alaska, where the military people all enjoy smoking it is the only thing I have found that is effective. There is not much you can do when they are open other than using a fan as suggested.

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