Smoking on balconies

According to the FINRISK study conducted in 2012, approximately one in two (51%) Finns felt that it was necessary to prohibit smoking on balconies by law. Correspondingly, according to an opinion survey conducted by ASH Finland in 2020, 49% of the inhabitants of blocks buildings reported tobacco smoke entering the flat or balcony. 82% of them found it disturbing – even 40% of smokers did.

Smoking in shared and common indoor areas of housing corporations is prohibited.  Housing corporations only, not individual residents,  have the opportunity to apply for a smoking ban for balconies and outdoor areas of apartments as well as indoor spaces of apartments.

The municipal authority may impose a smoking ban if, due to structures or other conditions, tobacco smoke can be spread, for example, from one balcony to another.

A smoking ban can also be imposed for indoor living spaces, if the spreading of tobacco smoke cannot be prevented by repairing and altering structures. Before imposing the ban, the occupant of the living space must be given the opportunity to stop the smoke from being spread by his/her own measures.

A smoking ban in indoor living spaces is not applied to the use of electronic cigarettes.

The general meeting decides

The decision to apply to the municipality for a smoking ban is made at the housing corporation’s general meeting. Shareholders must be notified in advance of the application in preparation.

The property owner (housing corporation) is responsible for ensuring that tobacco smoke is not spread to apartments through ventilation, open windows or structures.

More measures needed

The bans and restrictions on smoking laid down in the Tobacco Act have helped to effectively reduce exposure to tobacco smoke in public spaces and workplaces. Although the Tobacco Act contains provisions prohibiting or restricting smoking in housing corporations, it is still difficult to solve smoke problems in block buildings, terraced houses and two-dwelling houses.

In terms of protecting the health of the population, it is inconsistent to protect people in workplaces from exposure to a carcinogenic mixture when there is no equivalent protection in homes.

I want a smoke-free home

  • The rental agreement may include a smoking ban.
  • The ban can be included in the rental agreement at the beginning of tenancy or it can be added later by mutual agreement between the lessor and the lessee.
  • Smoking can be prohibited on balconies, outdoor areas or inside apartments in the housing corporation’s articles of incorporation.
  • The housing corporation’s rules and regulations may prohibit smoking, for example, in the corporation’s yard and on shared airing balconies.