I live in an apartment building in the State of New Jersey, USA area. A neighbor living a floor above me smokes cigarettes all day on his balcony. The smoke consistently travels down and through my windows, filling my apartment with smoke. Sometimes when the wind is blowing in a certain direction, even closed windows can't block the smoke from flowing into my unit. I'm getting constant headaches, and I'm afraid of getting lung cancer at this rate. I tried to talk to the neighbor nicely, but he now even refuses to talk to me at all. The apartment building's management is siding with the smoking neighbor. The neighbor is indirectly degrading my health every day and everyone I talked to thinks this is okay.

Are there any options available at all for me regarding this, legal or otherwise? If anyone knows a better place I can ask this, please let me know as well. I'm desperate and afraid for my health. Thanks for any help.


1 Answer 1


EDIT Thanks to Nate's advice, I think I have to reverse my opinion. For detail, see Nate's comment below.

It seems that you can NOT file your complaint to The Department of Health and Senior Services or the local board of health or the board pursuant to NEW Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act. What I found below applies to Indoor Public Space, and smoking in tenant's premise, although outdoor and can affect third party, this Act doesn't seem to be applicable.

According to New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act:

C.26:3D-58 Smoking prohibited in indoor public place, workplace.

  1. a. Smoking is prohibited in an indoor public place or workplace, except as otherwise provided in this act.
    b. Smoking is prohibited in any area of any building of, or on the grounds of, any public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school, regardless of whether the area is an indoor public place or is outdoors.


"Indoor public place" means a structurally enclosed place of business, commerce or other service-related activity, whether publicly or privately owned or operated on a for-profit or nonprofit basis, which is generally accessible to the public, including, but not limited to: a commercial or other office building; ... ambulatory recreational facility; shopping mall or retail store; hotel, motel or other lodging establishment; apartment building lobby or other public area in an otherwise private building; or a passenger elevator in a building other than a single-family dwelling.

As for the punishment:

C.26:3D-62 Violations; fines, penalties; enforcement.

  1. a. The person having control of an indoor public place or workplace shall order any person smoking in violation of this act to comply with the provisions of this act. A person, after being so ordered, who smokes in violation of this act is subject to a fine of not less than $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. ... The penalties provided in subsections a. and b. of this section shall be the only civil remedy for a violation of this act, and there shall be no private right of action against a party for failure to comply with the provisions of this act.

P.S. I am NOT attorney. This post is NOT legal advice.

  • 1
    The neighbor is smoking on his own balcony, which is neither indoors nor public. It appears to me that the neighbor is in compliance with the letter of this law, which only deals with where the smoking takes place and not where the smoke ends up. I think we would need to look for a different legal basis for any complaint. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 5:22
  • @Nate Eldredge, I think you are right. Smoking on the tenant's own balcony is tricky and I am not able to find legal ground against it.
    – Ryan L
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 5:38

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