Re: Smoking in and around common houses in cohousing
From: Bob Morrison (
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 09:57:01 -0600 (MDT)
  I am a lurker on this list. I am in southern NH, a member of a forming
cohousing group. I haven't posted to the list for about 2 years, but I
would like to talk about the smoking issue. I don't smoke, but I have
some friends who smoke and I'm interested in the issue.
  First, I think your cohousing group is doing the right thing by
discussing this issue and not assuming that there will be no smoking in
the common house. As you say, there will be smokers in the common house
at times even though none of the members are smokers, and you need to
have a clear policy about smoking.
  I have never heard of a cohousing community in the U.S. where smoking
is allowed in the common house. I know of two where smoking is not
allowed, and I think this is usually the case. 

> What about guests who have smoking cravings when it is raining?

  This is an important question, especially in the Seattle area, where
it rains a lot. The first answer that comes to mind is to provide a
place outside the common house that is covered. 
  Here in New England, the big issue is that it gets cold in the winter
and there is snow and ice on the ground most of the time. For most
workplaces here, the policy is that you must step outside to smoke, no
matter how cold it is. Although it is feasible to build an indoor
smoking room, it's expensive and is rarely done in workplaces now. For a
cohousing common house, it's probably an expense that most of the
members would not want to bear. The big problem is making absolutely
sure that none of the smoke from the smoking room gets into the rest of
the building.
> do any groups have a designated place that guests or others can smoke without
leaving the cohousing property? 

  I am opposed to a cohousing group prohibiting smoking anywhere on the
property, except for unit owners who choose to allow smoking in their
unit. Guests should be able to go somewhere to smoke without taking a
long walk, and this usually means allowing smoking somewhere on the

> Are there communities that have rules against all smoking inside and outside, 
> except in individual homes? 

  Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, MA comes close to this, or did
when I asked them about it two years ago. As I understand it, all the
unit owners chose to not allow smoking in their units, and some or all
of them have insurance policies on their units that prohibit smoking.
(Some insurers offer discounts on home insurance if nobody is allowed to
smoke. A while ago I lived in an accessory apartment in a house that had
this kind of insurance.) I asked this question because the 1999
cohousing conference was held there and I was curious what would happen
if any smokers attended this conference and wanted to smoke while there.
The contact person said that someone could go to an isolated area of the
property and smoke, if this situation came up.
Bob Morrison
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