February 5, 2013

An estimated 27 to 29 million Americans living in multi-unit housing are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke in their homes, even though they don’t allow smoking in their homes, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The study, released in 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 entering their homes from somewhere else in or around their buildings.

The study finds that of the 79.2 million people in the U.S. who live in multi-unit housing, about 62.7 million don’t allow smoking in their home.  In California, approximately 12 million individuals live in multi-unit housing, and nearly 5 million of them are potentially exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke that originated from outside their unit.

“The best way to protect the millions of U.S. multi-unit housing residents from exposure to secondhand smoke is by prohibiting smoking in all units and shared areas of their buildings,” said Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Not only are smoke-free policies permitted for both public and privately owned multi-unit housing, but they are also favored by most residents and can result in cost savings for multi-unit housing operators.”