E-cigs distress senior neighbor


To the editor:

I am writing to complain about some of the new co-op owners who are vaping e-cigarettes in their apartments. The smoking starts in the morning, afternoon, and more in the evening hours.

I am getting sick, inhaling toxins from the e-cigarettes. I begin coughing and sometimes feel nauseous. It is affecting my lungs, and my energy level is going down. This has been going on for the past eight months.

I complained to our agent at First Services Residential and our superintendent, but nothing has been done.

A friend told me her landlord posted a notice in her building banning smoking e-cigarettes, and declaring it a smoke-free establishment under local city law.

The vaping of e-cigarettes is coming through the wall or vents. I don’t know exactly the apartments it’s coming from. The smell of smoke is in my living room, bedroom, and my bathroom.

These co-op owners are allowed to smoke in their apartments, thanks to the board of directors at Tibbett Tower. They don’t realize the secondhand smoke is entering their neighbors’ apartments.

These smokers are enjoying the pleasure of vaping, but others are suffering with allergies. What about the neighbors’ children, inhaling these toxins? Some neighbors have complained, but it didn’t go anywhere.

The vaping of e-cigarettes has a heavy odor which penetrates the skin, clothes, rugs, etc. I have one air purifier, and had to purchase two more. I am a senior citizen on a limited income. I paid the price just to rid my apartment of the awful smells.

Unfortunately, it did not remove the odors completely. I know when someone is smoking because the air purifiers turn from blue — good quality — to red, bad quality.

I tried using vinegar, Pine-Sol, scented candles, aerosol sprays, but nothing worked to eliminate the smells. I have to open my windows in the frigid winter weather, but still, it doesn’t help.

At this time in my life, I cannot be comfortable in my apartment. Is it fair to have to live this way?

I was about to send this letter to the board of directors, but earlier in March, we received new bylaws for the building. I was excited to read the smoking rule, but it was the same wording as before: “Tenants cannot smoke around the building premises, but the exception is, you are allowed to smoke in the apartment.”

One of the reasons why they are allowing smoking in the apartments is because they want people to buy into the co-op. If that person is a smoker and reads “this is a non-smoking building,” they would not have a sale.

In February 2016, the Mitchell-Lama converted to a co-op ownership. There are two buildings at 3130 Irwin and 3125 Tibbett avenues. I am one of the five who became renters, living in my residence for 21 years.

If I want to approach the board about matters of concern, they will not see me, and I have no say in any matters at all. In the 19 years living here, I did not have any complaints in my apartment. Until now.

Again, I repeat: This board of directors does not allow tenants to smoke around the premises of the building, but they allow them to smoke in their apartments.

If these board members had to inhale the toxins from the e-cigarettes, don’t you think they would change their way of thinking?

With this coronavirus continuing on, why is smoking allowed in the apartments? Something has to be done before more people die from COVID-19 and secondhand smoke.

Can someone out there help a senior citizen in distress?

Anna Bakmezian

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Anna Bakmezian,