18 Replies Latest reply: Feb 12, 2019 8:57 AM by hill5185 RSS

    Should I allow smoking on my back deck?

    chris.sleepbranson Contributor

      My listing says "no smoking," but my rules don't currently specify whether my "no smoking" policy is inside only or extends to outside. I just had a question from a guest that made me wonder if I should intentionally be stricter and extend that to "no smoking outside" or not.

       

      Obviously I won't allow smoking inside, but a guest just asked me if I'd mind if he smoked a cigar on the back deck, which has a beautiful view of the Ozark mountains. I'm crafting a response right now (leaning on the side of "no smoking outside"), but it got me thinking: does it matter? If I allow smoking on the deck, will it really leave any detectable odor?

       

      I enjoy the occasional cigar myself (a few times a year, not at this property), and I can definitely understand the appeal of enjoying one while enjoying an expansive view. But I really don't want leftover cigarette stench permeating into the house or even really settling on the outdoor furniture, so I am hesitant to openly allow smoking in my rules, even outside. (And at least IMO, if I allow cigar smoking, then I probably have to allow cigarette smoking, even though--to my nose, at least--cigarette odors are vastly worse than the bordering-on-pleasant aroma a cigar leaves.)


      Am I overthinking things? Do you guys find that people smoking out on the deck doesn't actually have much of a risk of leaving a noticeable smell (either on the deck itself or inside), so I should edit the rules and say smoking on the deck is fine? Or should I edit my rules and decree that there's absolutely no smoking within 20 feet of any door to the property or something? Or just leave it as it is now and clarify it on a case-by-case basis depending on my sense of the guest's sense of responsibility?

        • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
          wildiris Active Contributor

          I wouldn't let this guest smoke anywhere on your property.  If he can't enjoy the beautiful view of the Ozark mountains from your deck without puffing on a cigar, I think he should stay somewhere that permits smoking.  Guests who ask you to change your rules for them tend to be poor guests.  It seems as though they believe that your other rules don't apply to them either.  I strongly advise against changing any of your rules for any of your guests.

            • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
              chris.sleepbranson Contributor

              I appreciate your response. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression in my original post about the situation. My rules don't address the question of outdoor smoking. He's not asking if I'd bend or change my policy; he's asking for clarification on whether the smoking restriction also applies outside. (He's indicated he's fine either way.)

               

              But that's not the point of my question. My question is (since I posted it in the "Creating contracts and policies" section): should I prohibit smoking outdoors? Does smoking outside leave odors or cause odors to be drawn into the house?

               

              (I've edited my original post to be clearer.)

            • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
              twomoreyears Senior Contributor

              We state that our home is a no-smoking property.  We get the same as you "does that mean even outside"?  Since we are in a remote wooded area and have a good-sized parking area covered with pebbles (low fire risk), we tell them we allow "occasional smoking at a designated area only, and all smoking waste must be disposed of outside and may not be brought into the house".  I don't advertise it, though.  The contract states no smoking in or immediately adjacent to the house.


              The challenge for you will be the "give an inch, take a mile" kind of guest that thinks a cigar near the house isn't any different than a pack of cigarettes on the deck with the doors open.  It works for us because we have staff that are there on a regular basis and can keep an eye on guests' behavior.  So unless you have a way to keep the "inch" an inch, it's a slippery slope to allow any kind of smoking.

              • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                mvphawaiicondo Contributor

                I have no definite answer for you, just an observation.  It's interesting that you said that you like to smoke the occasional cigar and so does my husband.  Of course I don't let him smoke in our house nor would he ever even think of doing so.  But he smokes outside with his cigar smoking buddies.  I don't mind them smoking outside, sitting on my backyard upholstered furniture.  After all it's in the backyard and the smell does not seem to permeate.  When the night is over, he knows to come in and take a shower immediately and not to sit on the indoor furniture.  He certainly would never go to bed unshowered after smoking a cigar.  This is at our home in California.  Now we take a trip to our condo in Hawaii with another couple.  The guy, we'll call him Roger, is one of his cigar smoking buddies and his wife is my dear friend.  The two guys go out and smoke cigars and then they come in to "my" vacation rental smelling of cigar smoke and plop themselves down on the furniture as if they are on vacation or something .  I kept giving my husband the stink eye which meant "go take a shower now".  He finally did but Roger did not.  I asked his wife the next day, very gingerly of course, about Roger's cigar smoking habits.  I asked how she could sleep next to him after he had just smoked a cigar.  She told me that he never takes a shower after smoking and before going to bed and she has just gotten used to the smell.  So here are two kinds of guys with two types of wives with two types of cigar smoking habits.  Would you allow my husband to smoke on your deck?  Would I?  Maybe.  Would you allow Roger to smoke on your deck?  Would I?  Absolutely not.  I think it was really respectful of the guy to even ask you.  On a side note, just recently one of my guest's sons was caught smoking pot on the balcony (lanai) of our rental. My neighbor smelled it, caught him and called me.  I had to call and tell the dad that no smoking of any kind was allowed.  The risk you take is having the person come inside with the stench permeating on their person and then it sticking to your furniture.  The more I write this out I'm thinking " No smoking inside or out"  And if they do it hopefully they'll at least be respectful and shower immediately afterward.  Just my observation for whatever it's worth. 

                  • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                    chris.sleepbranson Contributor

                    Very helpful perspective! Thanks for your post. I think I'll finish my message to my guest and take that perspective. And maybe edit my rules accordingly.

                     

                    FWIW, I often feel the need to shower after a night of cigar smoking, though honestly, I also feel the same after standing around a campfire all night. And yeah, I wouldn't want less conscientious people depositing those smells on indoor furniture. Better safe than sorry!

                  • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                    My contract specifically states no smoking in our around the home. I find that many people who smoke outside tend to toss their cigarettes (don’t know about the cigars) into the grass or anywhere they feel. They usually don’t put it in the trash for fear of starting it on fire so flipped into the grass.

                     

                    Wben we have contractors working around the house (if they smoke) I find butts in the gravel driveway and in the grass. Never taken with them OR properly disposed of.

                    • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                      sonenalpmammoth Active Contributor

                      No smoking outside because when we allowed it, smokers left a mess for cleaners and gardeners to deal with.

                      • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                        feibus CommunityAmbassador

                        My rental agreement states: no smoking anywhere on our property, including the pool area or front porch and that if we detect that smoking happened anywhere on the property, we would assess an additional cleaning fee to eradicate the smell.  Seven years, no one has been charged so far.

                        • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                          may as well. removes incentive to deceive you re smoking status and also you cannot really prevent it. so I put these on my decks and ,mention that smoking outside only as long as cig butts are properly disposed of  and any cleanup will be deducted for the deposit.

                           

                          Justrite 26806T Polyethylene Personal Smokers Cease Fire Cigarette Butt Receptacle, 1 Gallon Capacity, 11" OD x 30" Height, Terra Cotta

                          • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                            margaret CommunityAmbassador

                            My properties are on a golf course, apparently a lot of golfers like to smoke cigars. I had a problem with ashes being left on my deck area and cigar butts thrown onto the grass several years ago. Many of my neighbors had the same problem. My housekeeper suggested leaving an ashtray with instructions to keep the doors and windows closed while smoking and to clean up after themselves. This resolved the problem and we haven't had any issue or complaints of a smoke smell. It is great that your guest asked but it appears that many will assume outside is allowed.

                              • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                chris.sleepbranson Contributor

                                Although mvphawaiicondo's answer above was helpful, this is also helpful from the opposite perspective, and this is also the kind of feedback I was hoping to get--namely, some firsthand experience with whether allowing smoking on the deck will translate to a smoke odor ending up inside the house.


                                It's helpful to hear that you have experience that it's possible to allow it but avoid the smell coming in. I'll continue to consider whether to allow it based on that.

                                  • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                    margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                    I was very hesitant to allow it for the same reason as you but my housekeeper convinced me that that they were going to smoke either way. Adding the ashtray has eliminated the problems of ashes on the tile floors on our deck/screened porch and the housekeeper no longer needs to collect cigar butts from the yard. I am very clear that the windows and doors must be closed. I also have a fine for evidence of smoking in the house in my RA. So far, so good.

                                • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                  thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                  A concern for me would be monitoring and disposal of the smoking materials; I would be very concerned about the fire hazard of unattended or irresponsibly disposed of materials.  If you decide to permit outdoor smoking, I would be certain to have a method for safe disposal and I would advise the guest that he or she may not leave the materials unattended, even for the briefest of moments. 

                                  • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                    ambidextrous Active Contributor

                                    For nearly 20 years, we have had a very firm no smoking policy. We do however allow smoking on the deck. We make it clear that we don't want to see butts or any sign of smoking in the house. We have never had any problem at all. That said, I really do not know how many people actually smoke on a deck of a house that was designated non-smoking.

                                    • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                      greggt Senior Contributor

                                      Being located in the Panhandle of Florida, a drive to location from most Southern states, a quick check shows at least 20% of the population smokes. While I don't smoke and can't stand to smell it, I'm not about to exclude 20% of my markets by telling them they cannot smoke on our balcony.

                                      JMO of course.

                                      • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                        oceangrover Contributor

                                        Our rules are no smoking (or vaping) inside, outside or anywhere on the property.  Our home is in Ocean Grove NJ where houses are set cheek to jowl.  So, there's no place, on the property where smoke would not drive into the house.  (To say nothing of being on clothing and then getting into the soft furnishings.)  It's critical to our brand that guests can expect a completely smoke free environment.  (By the same token, we don't allow pets of any kind.  Yes, that does eliminate a big portion of the traveling public, but I am aiming to be a distinct property in our town and know from the get go our place will greatly appeal to some and will repel others.  I'm fine with that.)

                                         

                                        Additionally, and I assume this is not a challenge for you, fire is a terrible threat in our town.  One ember can take down many houses and injure our courageous volunteer fire fighters (as happens every couple of years here in OG).

                                         

                                        I'm sympathetic to the guy (or gal!) who wants to smoke a cigar while enjoying the scenery.  (Heck, on a trip to Cuba, I brought back cigars to my friends whom I know would enjoy them, so I'm not, personally, anti cigar smoking.)  But my vacation home is a business with a specific brand and I can't afford to erode that. 

                                        • Re: Should I allow smoking on my back deck?
                                          hrwi Contributor

                                          I don't allow it on my back deck, which also has a nice view. I do say they can smoke on the driveway or near the fire pit (a distance away from the house), but stipulate it's up to them to clean up after themselves. We (once!!) allowed smoking on the deck, which is accessed directly from the kitchen, and the entire house smelled like smoke afterward.