Tobacco Smoke Incursions in Multiunit Housing

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Objectives. We sought to describe the prevalence of secondhand tobacco smoke incursions reported by multiunit housing (MUH) residents, pinpoint factors associated with exposure, and determine whether smoke-free building policy was associated with prevalence of reported tobacco smoke incursions.

Methods. Data are from a 2011 nationally representative dual-frame survey (random-digit-dial and Internet panels) of US adults aged 18 years and older. Individuals who lived in MUH and who reported no smoking in their homes for the past 3 months, whether or not they reported being smokers themselves, were included in this study. Incursions were defined as smelling tobacco smoke in their building or unit.

Results. Of 562 respondents, 29.5% reported smoke incursions in their buildings. Of these, 16% reported incursions in their own unit, 36.2% of which occurred at least weekly. Government-subsidized housing and partial smoke-free policies were associated with a higher likelihood of reporting smoke incursions.

Conclusions. Many residents of multiunit housing are exposed to tobacco smoke in their units and buildings. Partial smoke-free policies do not appear to protect residents and might increase the likelihood of incursions in residents’ individual units.

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Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, Michelle Torok, PhD, Robert McMillen, PhD, Susanne Tanski, MD, MPH, Jonathan D. Klein, MD, MPH, and Jonathan P. Winickoff, MD, MPHKaren M. Wilson is with the Section of Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver. Michelle Torok is with the Children’s Outcomes Research Program, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Robert McMillen is with the Department of Psychology and Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State. Susanne Tanski is with the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Jonathan D. Klein is with the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence, Elk Grove Village, IL. Jonathan P. Winickoff is with the Division of General Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. “Tobacco Smoke Incursions in Multiunit Housing”, American Journal of Public Health 104, no. 8 (August 1, 2014): pp. 1445-1453.

PMID: 24922124