While cigarettes already are recognized for the health risks they present, there is a growing body of evidence implicating the damage that tobacco smoke also can do to real estate. A poll of property agents in Ontario, Canada, for instance, found that the presence of a habitual smoker in a home can lower its resale value by an average of about 20 percent. The overwhelming majority of respondents — 88 percent — agreed that it is more difficult to move a property that was formerly occupied by smokers. In addition to the Canadian study, newer research out of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California makes the case for “thirdhand smoke” as a carcinogen. The term applies to the noxious residue of cigarette gases and particles that remains even after secondhand smoke is removed. These materials settle on window and floor treatments, other room surfaces, and dust; and they are transferred to humans via inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. The Berkeley team stressed the difficulty in remediating for thirdhand smoke, with vacuuming, wiping, and improved ventilation doing little to treat the problem. The best approach, they recommend, is to completely replace the carpet and to repaint. Although much more research needs to be done, there is a strong possibility that smoking could eventually be added to the list of home conditions that sellers must disclose to prospective buyers. | Read More