Secondhand Smoke Transfer in Multiunit Housing

Research studies on wood smoke and other air pollution.

Secondhand Smoke Transfer in Multiunit Housing

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:08 pm

Secondhand Smoke Transfer in Multiunit Housing

Brian A. King, Ph.D., M.P.H., Mark J. Travers, Ph.D., K. Michael Cummings, Ph.D., M.P.H, Martin C. Mahoney, M.D., Ph.D., and Andrew J. Hyland, Ph.D.corresponding author


The home can represent a significant source of secondhand smoke (SHS), especially for individuals who live in close proximity to one another in multiunit housing (MUH). The objective of this study was to quantify real-time SHS transfer between smoke-permitted and smoke-free living units within the same MUH structure.

Air monitors were used to assess PM2.5, an environmental marker for SHS, in 14 smoke-free living units and 16 smoke-permitted units within 11 MUH buildings in the Buffalo, New York, area between July 2008 and August 2009. Air monitors were operated concurrently in both smoke-permitted and smoke-free units within each building. When feasible, additional monitors were stationed in shared hallways and on outdoor patios. Participants completed logs to document activities that could affect air quality.

Evidence of SHS transfer from smoke-permitted units was detected in 2 of the 14 smoke-free units and 6 of the 8 hallways. Real-time PM2.5 plots and participant logs suggest that SHS transfer is a function of many determinants, including ventilation and proximity between units. Following stratification by time of day, median PM2.5 levels were greatest between 4:00 PM and 11:59 PM but varied by location: 10.2 µg/m3 in smoke-free units, 18.9 µg/m3 in hallways, and 29.4 µg/m3 in smoke-permitted units.

This study documents SHS incursions from smoke-permitted units into smoke-free units and adjacent hallways within the same building. Since many factors appear to impact the amount of SHS transfer between these areas, the implementation of a smoke-free building policy represents the most effective way to ensure that residents of MUH units are not exposed to SHS.
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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