Clearing the Air: Dealing with Secondhand Smoke

Open windows during the warmer months of the year allow you to experience the fresh, Colorado air.  But sometimes that air is not so fresh.  Secondhand tobacco smoke can make its way into your home, causing irritation and potential harm.  Community associations may have a role, and an obligation, in minimizing the impact of second-hand tobacco smoke in your home.

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act took effect nearly two years ago, on July 1, 2006. The Clean Indoor Air Act applies to community associations and prohibits smoking in restrooms, hallways, lobbies and other common areas in any public or private buildings, including condominium buildings, and within a fifteen foot radius of building entryways.  The law does not prevent owners from smoking in their residences, and does not clearly restrict smoking on private patios or balconies, although some associations impose more stringent smoking restrictions through their recorded covenants or rules.  Colorado community associations, and individuals, in violation of the Clean Indoor Air Act may face fines.  The law establishes a fine schedule of $200 for the first violation, $300 for the second, and $500 for the third and subsequent violations.

Associations can take steps to comply with the Clean Indoor Air Act by integrating the law's requirements into existing rules and regulations, creating designated smoking areas where appropriate, and posting "No Smoking" signs near entryways and in interior common areas to encourage compliance by owners and guests.  Even though the statute applies regardless of association policies, as with any change to existing rules, community associations should communicate proposed rules to owners and allow owners the opportunity to voice support and concerns prior to adoption of the rules.  Associations considering the prohibition of smoking within private residences will likely need to amend their covenants to achieve the desired result.

If your community association needs assistance with Clean Indoor Air Act compliance, contact one of our attorneys to discuss available options.