Some city landlords have begun prohibiting tenants from smoking inside their apartments, because of the dangers of second-hand smoke. A study recently found that secondhand smoke causes at least 35,000 deaths from heart disease and 3,000 deaths from lung cancer in nonsmokers nationwide each year—and New Yorkers are even more at risk because their dense urban environment. As one tobacco expert put it: "Smoke doesn’t know to stop at a doorway. It fills the full capacity of every indoor location in which the cigarette is smoked." So at least one major real estate company is now stepping in to stop the smoke before it starts.

This month the Related Companies will ban smoking at some of its downtown apartment buildings, though the ban will only affect new tenants, who must sign an agreement promising not to smoke inside their homes. And developer Kenbar Management will ban smoking from all 298 units in its East Harlem building when it opens next month. Its smoking ban will even extend to private and shared terraces, and tenants must also agree not to smoke on any of the sidewalks that wrap around the building!

With the city contemplating a smoking ban in public parks and beaches, some smokers are outraged about a perceived ghettoization of smoking. One tenant at a Related Companies building tells the Times, "I think it’s absolutely absurd. How about a little tolerance? Smokers have become the whipping boys for everything that’s unhealthy about living in New York City." And Audrey Silk, founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, wonders, "If we’re talking about annoying odors, where do you draw the line? What about cooking odors, from fish or curry?" It's unclear how many deaths have been caused by second-hand fish odor inhalation.