How to Smoke in a Non-Smoking Apartment (Without Getting Caught!)

Updated: | Author: Brad Javernick | Affiliate links may be present.

Being a smoker has often meant being somewhat of an outcast from the rest of society. As more and more people turn to vaping, nicotine gums or quitting altogether, smokers can often feel like there is nowhere for them to smoke and can find themselves relegated to a cold and lonely smoking area somewhere outside.

While that’s to be expected at workplaces, restaurants, and bars, due to smoking restrictions in the law, many smokers are still being restricted in their own homes.

Many landlords are deciding to put smoking restrictions in their apartments. And although this makes sense from the landlord’s point of view, to maintain the value of the property, it can leave a lot of smokers feeling like they’ve got nowhere to go to smoke, which, after all, is their right to do, if they have chosen freely to be a smoker.

So if you live in a rented apartment, as many of us do, you might feel rather annoyed at having to trek downstairs to get outside, and if you don’t have a balcony or any outside space, you might start to seriously resent the effort it takes just to smoke legally in your home.

So, how can you smoke inside and get away with it?

Smoking in a Non-Smoking Apartment – The Law

First off, it’s worth mentioning that smoking in a non-smoking apartment is not technically illegal under federal law. But, it is an infringement of your contract with the landlord or letting association.

In addition, all public housing agencies are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to restrict the use of tobacco products in shared accommodations. This includes most privately rented apartments.

So, unless you’ve received explicit instructions from your landlord that it’s ok to smoke indoors, assume that it’s not allowed, and by doing so, you will be breaking an agreement with both them and the public housing authority.

Remember, tenants have no legal right to smoke. Repercussions from being caught smoking in a non-smoking apartment can vary depending on your rental contract and range from a written reprimand to a short-notice eviction.

But, having said that, if you don’t mind taking the risk, there are certain methods you can employ that will help you smoke indoors and not get caught!

How to Smoke in Your Apartment (And Not Get Caught!)

Smoking inside and not getting caught is definitely possible. Here are some things that can make that sneaky indoor cigarette a lot less risky!

Beware of the Smoke Detector

This should be an obvious first thing to look out for. Smoking anywhere near the smoke detector is a surefire way to get caught.

Not only will the sound alert your neighbors that you may be in danger and inspire them to come and see what’s going on, but it could also alert building management. If your landlord lives on-site, you’re rumbled!

Covering the smoke detector with a sock can work, and of course, removing the battery/disabling the device will rule out any chance of it going off, but this is not recommended at all. The chances of you forgetting to get it up and running again are not worth the risk of recommending this.

Just try to keep as far away from the smoke detector as possible!

Talk to Your Immediate Neighbors

Speak to your neighbors next door – tactfully. You may find out that they don’t mind the smell of smoke or are even secret smokers themselves!

The best way to word this conversation would be along the lines of ‘I’m having a small gathering, and some of my guests are smokers. Would it bother you if they smoked indoors?’

Don’t let your neighbors know that it’s you you’re asking about. It will alert them to your habit, and they will link any future smells or signs of indoor smoking with you from here on out.

Consider Smokeless Alternatives

You may have already considered a switch to vaping, and if you have, you’ll know how much easier and less troublesome it is to use a vape indoors.

The smell doesn’t linger and is usually nowhere near as offensive as the smell of cigarette smoke can be to some people.

There’s no fire risk associated with it, and so far, it looks like the research has confirmed it is much healthier for you than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Smoke-Proof Your Apartment

If you’ve decided to go ahead and smoke indoors, you better make sure that smell isn’t getting out into any hallways or, god forbid, someone else’s apartment.

One way of ensuring this won’t happen is to smoke-proof your apartment, or at least the room you’re going to be smoking in.

A towel is pushed tightly against the bottom of a door to smother the crack between the door, and the floor will stop smoke and smells from escaping that way. Wetting the towel can make it more absorbent of the smell, but your towel will stink afterwards.

Close any air vents, as these may run directly past or through your neighbor’s apartments. If they’re rusted open or cannot be closed, a plastic bag taped over the vent has the same effect as closing it.

As for whether you have your windows closed or open is up to you. An open window will suck the smoke right out of the apartment – but that can mean into someone else’s! A closed window means there’s no way for the smoke to escape, but you don’t run the risk of anyone upstairs getting a whiff as your smoke drifts out and up.

Smoke in the Bathroom

A great way to avoid lingering smells is by smoking in the bathroom. You can use the towel in front of the door to stop smoke from escaping into the rest of your apartment, but apart from that, you want to remove any soft furnishings, as smoke will seep into them, and the odor will linger.

This shouldn’t be too hard in the bathroom – normally, just towels and maybe a bathmat.

Once these fabric items are removed, there’s not anything left in the bathroom for smoke to cling to. Bathroom floors are usually tired, not carpeted, so there’s no chance of smoke sinking into the floor.

Another great reason to smoke in the bathroom is the extractor fan. Usually employed to suck steam and bathroom smell outside to prevent dampness and odors, the extractor will do a great job of sucking smoke outside as well.

Just make sure you stand close enough to blow smoke directly into it and make sure it’s powerful enough to suck the smoke out of the bathroom.

Running the shower while you smoke can also help, as hot steam will absorb some of the smoke and smell, although it is a bit of a waste of water!

Air Purifiers

An air purifier can make the process of trying to sneak a smoke inside much easier and a lot less smelly.

Anyone with allergies or asthma may already be familiar with how a purifier works but put simply, it sucks in the air immediately around it and filters it through several layers, which work to purify the air by trapping toxins, pollen, microbes, and also bad smells.

The resulting air that blows back out into your apartment is therefore cleaner and smell-free.

Tip: Activated carbon is the most effective filtering material – and we’ll touch on this again later.

Odor-Masking Methods

If you can’t afford an air purifier or are looking for something altogether cheaper and faster than the above methods, you may wish to try just smoking and then worrying about the odor afterwards.

Fragrance diffusers such as air fresheners, in spray or plug-in form, can work fairly adequately to cover the scent of cigarette smoke with something altogether more pleasing.

For a slightly stronger masking smell, oil diffusers (either a bottle with bamboo or rattan reeds or a plugin device) work well, especially when filled with pungent essential oils like lavender.

Homemade Methods – The Activated Carbon Sploof

Now, the name of this section might sound a bit crazy but bear with me.

For those that don’t know, a sploof is an often homemade tool that can be used to filter and reduce the smell of cigarette smoke. Though its usage is often more associated with smokers of other things, it works just as well for cigarettes.

Basically, a sploof is a hollow tube into which smoke is exhaled. One end is left open for you to breathe into; the other is fitted with various filtering materials.

A solid tube often works best – think a film canister or medicine bottle. Often a toilet roll tube is used, but when using activated charcoal as the filter, this may not be appropriate. If your tube of choice is not already open-ended, be sure to poke some holes in both ends (or the lid/cap, if applicable), to allow airflow through the sploof.

Next, you’re going to need activated charcoal. Use as much as you can fit comfortably in your tube, and wrap it tightly in a paper towel. Next, wet the towel, as this removes dust from the carbon and improves its efficacy as a filtering material. This is also why a toilet roll tube is not the best choice!

Simply insert the carbon filter into your tube, affix the cap/lid, and you’re ready to go! You can wait until the paper towel has dried out, but it’s not necessary.

This is a highly effective method for secret smoking, and it’s been used by the cannabis community for years.

Final Thoughts

I can empathize with you smokers, especially if you live high in an apartment block and the nearest designated smoking area is across the street on ground level. It can be very tempting to break the rules and just light up inside. After all, you’re paying for a place, you should be free to smoke if you wish!

But as we know, that’s not the case. So if you do decide to try any of the methods listed in this article, remember you’re doing so entirely at your own risk, and you don’t really have any legal ground to stand on if you get caught.

I think it’s also worth mentioning safety. Smoking inside means smoking near flammable materials, which is an obvious health and safety hazard, not just for you but for the whole building.

Good luck, happy smoking, and stay safe!

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About Brad Javernick

Brad is a licensed home inspector and the editor of Home Oomph. He's a massive DIYer, and loves to take on new home renovation projects!

2 thoughts on “How to Smoke in a Non-Smoking Apartment (Without Getting Caught!)”

  1. Of course! How very thoughtful.

    Now back to the Smoker…Thank you Brad for the nicely reasoned, non-judgmental article. Being a smoker for,hmmm, 63 now. Had to leave home before I felt independent enough to smoke regularly – so 63-19 = 44 years. Must be about 15 years ago I gave up: 1)nagging myself – ‘when are you going to quit’;’2) trying the latest stop smoking craze – cognitive-behavioural therapy, hypnosis, and self-help books *.

    * I believe the Authors name was Alan Carr. His book was the last one I attempted to read. I think I only got through the first chapter before I put it aside and accepted myself as a smoker. I think back and realized that I didn’t want to ‘quit’ (‘never raised as a quitter’-《yawn》). I left open the possibility that I may choose to stop sometime. I’ve always been respectful of non smoker with the exception of those who’s words reflect their blindness to their own


    N.b. I heard a rumour that smokers were less likely to contract Covid as nicotine blocked certain receptors. Has anyone heard of published research to this effect? Apparently this happened to show up in some profiling demographic first, with the commonality being fewer covid cases in people who happened to be smokers

  2. Instead of encouraging smokers to endanger the lives of others in their building why not encourage them to stop smoking? His next-door neighbor may be suffering from cancer and other lung issues that is greatly affected by smoking and he could be contributing to their death and should be held libel for any damages he causes his neighbors.


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