The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke in Apartments and Condominiums

Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

If you live in an apartment or condominium, cigarette smoke can easily seep into your home. It can sift in through the ventilation system or open windows. Or the space between the water pipes. Or even the electrical outlets. The ease in which secondhand smoke travels, and the dangers it brings with it, is the impetus behind the latest decision by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) to crack down on smoking in multi-unit housing.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that people who live in apartments, townhouses, and condominiums are disproportionately affected by neighbors who smoke. The CDC has recommended a multipronged attack to reduce smoking in multi-unit complexes, a plan that includes education and local regulations.

“Everybody should be able to breathe clean air in their homes,” Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association, told Healthline. “Secondhand smoke kills.”

 

The Smoking Numbers

A study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Indicated that 34 percent of multi-unit housing residents who have smoke-free policies in their homes have been exposed to secondhand smoke from a nearby unit. Overall, they said, secondhand smoke kills 41,000 people a year and costs $5.6 billion annually in lost productivity. The problem for apartment and condo residents, they said, is that those residents can do everything correctly to keep their home smoke-free and still be exposed. How easily smoke travels varies from complex to complex, depending on its design and environmental factors.

“Secondhand smoke many times is not the choice of the people around it,” Amy Lukowski, Psy.D., clinical director of health initiatives programs at National Jewish Health. “Yet, they’re being exposed to something that is very harmful.”

 

What Can Be Done

The CDC is recommending what King described as a “multifaceted approach” to reduce smoking in multi-unit housing. The first step is better education for apartment and condominium residents on the dangers of smoking and the risks of breathing secondhand smoke. The second step is to encourage the owners of multi-unit housing complexes to voluntarily impose smoke-free rules in their buildings.

 

What Can You Do?

Are you a Johnson County resident or property owner and want to live smoke free? Check out our new web site: www.smokefreeliving.jocogov.org

 

Condensed from an article written by David Mills on July 19, 2016 Fact Checked

 

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