What are my rights?

Understanding your legal rights is important for changing smoking rules in the apartment building where you live.

Important things you should know:

  • No-smoking policies are permitted under federal, Oregon or Washington laws, even in assisted housing.
  • It is important to note that smokers are not a protected legal class, i.e., there is no "right to smoke" under the law.
  • Both the Oregon Clean Indoor Air Act and Washington's Smoking in Public Places Law prohibit smoking in most indoor public places, which includes common areas of apartment buildings, such as hallways, laundry rooms, recreation/common rooms, lobbies, and similar types of areas.
  • Although there are no laws that specifically protect tenants from secondhand smoke, there are several potential legal remedies that you can pursue under common law theories and landlord-tenant law.
  • Non-smokers with certain disabilities may have legal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. If secondhand smoke seriously affects your ability to breathe, consult a doctor to have your condition documented.