On the balcony

Encouraged by the increased importance of non-smoker protection in our society, non-smokers who are bothered by smoking neighbors in their apartment or condominium are beginning to fight back, some of whom have been doing so for years and have previously asked for consideration from smokers to no avail. One contentious issue here is smoking on the balcony. Many people want to keep their own apartment smoke-free and therefore regularly go out onto the balcony to smoke. In principle, there would be no objection to this if it weren’t for the smoke drifting onto other balconies or into the windows of apartments above. Non-smokers feel that this impairs their quality of life or suffer from physical discomfort (headaches, nausea, coughing …). What could a solution look like here? There will be no ideal solution, but there are compromises that should be clearly promoted by legislation, e.g. the binding agreement of smoking times on the balcony so that non-smokers can adjust their ventilation times accordingly.

In the event of non-compliance (smoking on the balcony outside the agreed times), warnings must be possible, and in the event of repeated non-compliance, termination. To prevent such disputes from arising in the first place, the landlord should have the option of banning smoking in the apartment or house, including the balcony or garden, so that non-smoking houses could enrich the rental offer. This would be an investment in the future for every landlord, as around three quarters of the German population are already non-smokers. For houses with owner-occupied apartments, separate regulations must be made, as smoking cannot be banned in residential property. Perhaps there will be technical solutions in the future that will help prevent smoking on the balcony from becoming a nuisance for neighbors.