Urban Diplomat: Can we tell our neighbours to stop smoking—for the sake of our baby?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I have detected the smell of cigarette smoke coming through the shared wall of our semi-detached home and into our baby’s room. We’d hoped to bring this up with our neighbours during a casual encounter on the front porch, but we rarely see them, and I don’t want to knock on their door, which might seem confrontational. After all, they have every right to smoke in their own home. Any advice on how to handle the problem?
If your floor plan allows it, move the nursery to a smoke-free area of the house. If it doesn’t, then suck it up and pay your neighbours a visit. Bringing your lifestyle suggestions to someone’s doorstep is generally a bad idea (ask any Mormon missionary for his daily door-slam tally), but you rarely see these neighbours, so there’s no borrow-a-cup-of-sugar relationship at stake. Begin by Björning the baby adorably to your torso, and adopt a self-effacing tone: “I know this is asking a lot and I will totally owe you a year of flower-bed weeding, but would you mind smoking in a different part of the house? The smoke drifts into Junior’s nursery.” You’ll likely receive an eye roll and a door slam, but if you’re lucky they’ll remember your baby’s cherubic face the next time they light up and at least consider acquiescing to your request. If they don’t, resort to option C: move.
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(Image: houses, Paul Robinson)