Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

A case for smokefree apartments and condos

Children who live in apartments are exposed to secondhand smoke even if no one smokes in their unit, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed the blood of children who live in smokefree homes and found that kids living in apartments have a 45 percent increase in cotanine levels in their blood than kids who live in detached home. Cotanine is a common marker of tobacco exposure. The study was done by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Julius B. Richmond Center, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Said Karen Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital and lead author of the paper,

This study shows that the threat of secondhand smoke can occur even when the child’s immediate home environment is smoke-free.

This alone should prompt apartment managers and condo boards to make their buildings smokefree. Secondhand smoke has more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known or suspected carcinogens. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.  Just as no one has a right to keep their neighbors up with band practice at 3 a.m., they don’t have a right to ruin their neighbors’ health.

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