Since at least 2006, when the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report concluding that exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) can cause or exacerbate heart disease, lung cancer, strokes, and respiratory ailments (The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General (2006)), co-op and condominium boards and managers have struggled with how to deal with SHS in the buildings they represent and manage. (The most recent example of the difficulty posed for boards in dealing with SHS is the Appellate Division, First Department’s decision in Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corporation, 150 A.D.3d 431 (1st Dept. 2017), which finally resolved an apartment owner’s SHS allegations and claims in the board’s favor, following nine years of litigation.) This column discusses recent New York City legislation which imposes on residential landlords and boards the obligation to adopt a smoking policy within one-year, and federal legislation which requires public housing agencies to implement a smoke-free policy banning the use of prohibited tobacco products in public housing apartments and adjacent outdoor space by mid-2018. This column also provides guidance to boards and managers as to how to establish the required policy and also limit the proliferation of SHS in co-op and condominium buildings.
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