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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

National and State Estimates of Secondhand Smoke Infiltration Among U.S. Multiunit Housing Residents

Friday, December 14, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

National and State Estimates of Secondhand Smoke Infiltration Among U.S. Multiunit Housing Residents

A new study published by the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research is the first to report national and state estimates of the number of multi-unit housing residents who are exposed to secondhand smoke that entered their homes from elsewhere in or around their buildings. The findings from this study reveal that over one-quarter of the U.S. population (79.2 million individuals) resides in multi-unit housing and that disparities in multi-unit housing residency exist across subpopulations. The findings also show that an estimated 27.6–28.9 million multi-unit housing residents with smoke-free home rules have potentially experienced secondhand smoke infiltration in their living unit that originated from elsewhere in or around their buildings. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke. Therefore, policies prohibiting smoking in multi-unit housing, including living units and indoor shared areas, represent the most effective way to fully protect multi-unit housing residents from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke in this environment. According to the report, multiunit housing residents are particularly susceptible to involuntary secondhand smoke exposure in the home. Environmental studies conducted in multi-unit housing buildings indicate that secondhand smoke constituents can infiltrate smoke-free units and shared areas from units where smoking is permitted. Exposure to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products causes disease and premature death among nonsmokers.

Key Findings:

  • About a quarter of all Americans —79.2 million—live in multi-unit housing.
  • Among multi-unit housing residents with smoke-free home rules (62.7 million), an estimated 27.6–28.9 million have experienced secondhand smoke infiltration.
  • The number of multi-unit housing residents who have experienced secondhand smoke infiltration ranges from 26,000-27,000 in Wyoming to 4.6-4.9 million in California.
  • Nationally, 47.6% of multi-unit housing residents are male, 53.3% are aged 25–64 years, 48.0% are non-Hispanic White, and 24.4% live below the poverty level.

URLs: PDF of Article, Swiss cheese (sample) press release


Source: CDC/Office on Smoking and Health


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