Is It Ok For My Neighbors To Burn Incense?

You may not be a fan of burning incense. Living next to neighbors who frequently burn incense can be a nuisance. So, when is it ok for your neighbors to burn incense?

It is only ok if your neighborhood has plenty of open space between houses. Multi-housing developments and apartments do not allow it. Incense use has fire and health risks. It could aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma. Increase your chance to get cancer or exposure to harmful gases, and particles.

Burning incense may provide spiritual, religious, and cultural comfort for some. But for others, it might be a problem. Having neighbors who use incense often can be a concern for all the people who live in the same neighborhood.

Issues about Incense burning are more common with apartment buildings. Distinct odors can spread rapidly. Because they usually share walls, ceilings, and flooring with neighbors. And have doors and windows that are closer together.

This may not be the same case when you own a house. You may still smell incense smoke from your neighbors. But the smell may not be as strong if there is enough space between both of your houses.

Side yards or backyards incredibly help with some of the smell of the incense. More air (wind) travels around a house. It helps its distinct smell to be easily swept by the air. 

Home properties come in different lot areas per square foot. Hence, incense smoke from neighbors can still be bothersome for homeowners.

If you have a problem with your neighbors burning incense. You should first consider if it is clearly not allowed in your neighborhood. You may need to contact your neighborhood association about it. It is better to be aware of that knowledge before you decide to confront them about it.

If there is a rule within your community about it, then you have to tell your neighbor. Let them know that you can smell the incense smoke and that you do not like it. If they did not listen to your request, you must tell them that you may report this to your homeowner’s association (HOA).

If your local community does not have existing rules about incense burning. You can still talk to your neighbors in a polite way. You can still tell them that you are not fond of the smell of incense.

If it is for purely aromatic purposes, convince them of other alternative options. They can try oil burning or oil diffuser machines for their homes.

But if it is for religious purposes, they can lessen the times they burn incense. They can do it once or twice a month. If that is an arrangement that works for you.

They can do it in an open space(backyard) instead. They can also go to their nearby religious temples to frequently burn incense.

Is Incense Smoke Bad For Your Health?

Incense burning is bad for our health and one must use it sparingly. It is especially dangerous indoors and in closed tight spaces. It poses a threat to the health of the user and their family members, as well as the people in the surrounding neighborhood.

Burning incense produces particulates that can be easily inhaled. Research says it produces more particulate matter than cigarette smoke.

Cigarettes only generate 10 mg/g while incense can have 45 mg/g of particulates per stick. This shows that incense emits 4 times more particulate matter to the air than a cigarette.

Particulate matter concentrations of indoor incense burning exceed outdoor air quality standards. Standards specified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As stated in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

This means Incense burning does have a negative effect on the quality of air that we can breathe on a daily basis. It is now classified as an indoor kind of pollutant like smoking. Prolonged use may increase your chances of coming in contact with cancer-causing materials.

Research studies say the use of incense increases the risk of getting cancers of the upper respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes the mouth, sinus, throat, and larynx.

Burning something and inhaling smoke from chemicals are things you should not take lightly for your health and safety.

Being exposed to incense smoke can also trigger or worsen respiratory conditions. Conditions like asthma, skin irritations, and other several illnesses. Children severely exposed to incense smoke can develop asthma and persistent coughs.

Independent studies associate incense burning with illnesses in children. Elevated risk for leukemia and brain tumors is a possibility.  If the mother got exposed to constant incense smoke while pregnant or nursing.

The Center for Energy and Environment research shows that air and air contaminants can move in between homes. This applies to secondhand smoke.

The study discussed that there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke. Every contact with it poses a serious threat to our respiratory health.

We could apply this principle to second-hand incense smoke as well. As mentioned, incense smoke emits 4 times more particles than cigarettes.

As a health and safety measure, much research discourages us from prolonged exposure to burning incense. Studies have proven that it can affect our health. Especially for women carrying or nursing a child.

Can Incense Be The Same As Smoking?

Incense in a way is closely related to smoking. Both of them have ash particles for residues and need a flame source by burning the edges. They also both emit smoke that is harmful when inhaled.

Incense can not be exactly the same as smoking. Because, unlike incense burning, smoking is directly inhaled through the mouth. But they are both now considered as indoor pollutants which directly affect indoor air quality.

Modern building codes updated their policies when it comes to smoking, burning incense, and even in some cases using candles. They often favor prohibiting such activities for safety. Since several studies already proved their negative environmental effects.

This may be the same for strict neighborhood associations. You should always check it with them to be aware of important policies. 

Neighborhoods with confined spaces must also adopt these guidelines as well. Especially for large cities that include houses with less space in between. 

Do Incense Sticks Trigger Fire Alarms?

Fire alarms are often found in any type of house to follow the necessary fire code. Naturally, incense sticks can trigger fire alarms because they produce smoke. Some advanced smoke detectors may be more sensitive than others, thus lighting an incense stick indoors may be difficult.

With the serious threat of fire, modern smoke detectors are more hypersensitive to smoke. The chance of incense stick smoke by neighbors detected on your smoke alarm might be minimal. But it is a possibility. 

Fire can be extremely dangerous. Taking it seriously is essential. Using lights and smoldering materials with caution is a good practice.

If you are already aware of your neighbor’s incense burning activities. Make sure that it will not enter your house through windows or doors. Incense smoke should not travel to the room where your smoke alarm is to be extra safe.

Leave a Comment