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Apartment Dwellers Affected by Neighbor's Tobacco Smoke

Residents with children significantly more likely to report smelling smoke

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Unwanted tobacco smoke often seeps from one apartment to another, with one-third of multi-unit housing dwellers reporting smelling tobacco smoke in their building, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from April 28 to May 1 in Boston.

Karen M. Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Rochester in New York, and colleagues analyzed responses from 323 participants in the online 2011 Social Climate Survey. Only participants reporting that no one had smoked in their home for the previous three months were included.

The researchers found that 31 percent of respondents reported smelling smoke in their building. Of those, 49 percent described smelling smoke in their unit, with 38 percent reporting weekly smoke incursions and 12 percent smelling smoke daily. Households with children were significantly more likely to report building incursions (41 versus 26 percent), but significantly less likely to report unit incursions (34 versus 60 percent). Respondents living in buildings without restrictions were nearly equally likely to have building incursions as those living in buildings where smoking was restricted to units (40 versus 42 percent), compared to buildings where smoking was not allowed (21 percent). Building incursions were most associated with buildings having no smoking restrictions (odds ratio [OR], 2.7) and tenants having kids in the home (OR, 1.9), government subsidy (OR, 3.7), and less than a high school education (OR, 4.9).

"This finding supports grassroots efforts by multi-unit housing resident groups [and] apartment managers and owners to make buildings smoke-free for the comfort, health, and safety of their residents, and because of the far lower costs associated with managing nonsmoking apartments," Wilson said in a statement.

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