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Parents Angry That Neighbour Chain Smokes in Their Backyard Exposing Their Children to Second-Hand Smoke

Parents Angry That Neighbour Chain Smokes in Their Backyard Exposing Their Children to Second-Hand Smoke

There is an expectation that we should be allowed to do perfectly legal things on our own properties without being harassed by others. But what if your backyard was constantly filled with cigarette smoke from your chain smoking neighbour exposing your children to passive smoke?

This ethical dilemma was asked recently on the best moral judgement site there is, Am I The Asshole, as the smoker in question wanted to know if they have the right to smoke in their own backyard.

“I’m a heavy smoker but I don’t smoke in the house because my husband doesn’t like the smell and I don’t want him breathing secondhand smoke (he’s a non-smoker),” the poster wrote. “I usually smoke cigarettes in our backyard.”

They explained that an anonymous note was popped in their letterbox last week:


Not knowing who had written the note, the poster opted to ignore it and continued smoking in her backyard, as is her right to do. But then a neighbour knocked on their door and complained in person, saying that she shouldn’t smoke in her backyard because her children play in their backyard and are being impacted by the smoke.

“I think my neighbour is being unreasonable,” the poster continued. “Our backyards are pretty large, and I smoke right in the center of my backyard so the smoke has more space to disperse.”

second hand smoke effects on children

This is quite the ethical conundrum, isn’t it? The smoker has every right to do as they wish on their own property, but if that negatively impacts other people — especially the health of children — then shouldn’t they consider the needs and rights of others?

It seems to be in a similar vein to noise pollution in that an action of one neighbour effects everyone around them despite being legal and no one else’s business.

As the poster asked for people’s judgement on the matter, comments came in the thousands from both sides of the fence (see what I did there? lol).

“NTA (not the asshole). It’s your yard. You’re outside. Definitely NTA,” was the top comment.

“ESH (everyone sucks here). I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke and would be highly annoyed if I had a neighbour who did this all the time,” added another.

“ESH. Smelling other people’s cigarette smoke is gross. I wouldn’t want me or my kids breathing it in either. Yes, you’re technically within your rights to smoke in your yard, but you’re lying to yourself if you think it’s not bothering or affecting other people in the vicinity,” commented another.

“YTA (you’re the asshole). Yes, legally you are well within your rights. But your neighbours do deserve to enjoy their yards without the stench of cigarette smoke. And yes, it reeks. It reaches much further than many smokers realise, too,” penned another person.

What are your thoughts? What would you do in this situation? Feel free to sound off in the comments!

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Jill Slater

Jill Slater

Jill is a busy wife and mother of four young children. She loves nothing more than making people giggle, and loves to settle in with a glass of wine (or four) and wander about the internet. Feel free to follow her to see all the cool stuff she finds!

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