CDC: Tens of Millions Exposed to Secondhand Smoke From Neighbors

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After seeing multiple cities—including Boise—ban smoking in public locations, health officials are now turning their sights toward private residences, saying as many as 29 million American nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke coming from neighboring apartments, seeping through ventilation systems, loose floorboards and windows.

The study is published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health said exposure to secondhand smoke "is not under the control of the people living in vulnerable apartments. The residents are getting affected from the smoke involuntarily and are rarely able to do anything against it."

Dr. Tim McAffee, the director of CDC's OSH, said the solution would be to prohibit smoking in shared apartments, by instituting new laws or working with individual landlords.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has "encouraged" owners of subsidized housing units and public housing authorities "to adopt smoke-free poliicies to protect residents from the dangers of secondhand smoke and to reduce property maintenance costs."

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