Thursday, December 20, 2012

New CDC Study Finds Nonsmokers in Multifamily Complexes Still Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 448,000 to 470,000 Colorado residents living in multifamily housing are exposed to secondhand smoke even though they don't allow smoking in their homes. Nationally, 27 to 29 million multifamily housing residents are exposed to tobacco smoke entering their homes from somewhere else in or around their buildings.

The new CDC study released in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research is the first to report national and state estimates of such exposure. The study finds that 62.7 million of the nation's 79.2 million multifamily residents don't allow smoking in their homes. In Colorado, 1 million of the state's 1.3 million multifamily residents don't allow smoking in their homes.  

"As a pediatrician, I have had a lot of feedback from parents who have been telling me that this is really a significant issue for them," said Dr. Karen Wilson. "But I do think for many people this is a relatively new concept to think about, in terms of looking at the situation and the potential impact, and then being able to do something about it."

Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.  Each year, secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths in the United States. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged Public Housing Authorities, as well as owners and management agents of multi-family housing rental assistance programs, such as Section 8, to adopt and implement smoke-free policies for some or all of their properties.

Secondhand tobacco smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children.  Even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger acute cardiac events such as heart attack. Cigarette use kills an estimated 443,000 Americans each year, including 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.

 To review the study, go to the Nicotine &  Tobacco Research  

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