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Tuesday, 04 May 2010 00:55

Children, apartments, smoking not a good mix


According to a U.S. study from the University of Rochester, the majority of children living in apartments were exposed to smoke even though they did not live with smokers. The cigarette smoke from other tenants came through the walls and venting system in the form of secondhand smoke.


This first-ever study that analyzed cigarette smoking and the type of housing people live in was performed by researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, New York.

The results of the study were presented on May 1, 2010, at the Pediatric Academic Society Meeting (PAS 2010), in Vancouver, Canada.

The May 1, 2010 press release from the University of Rochester Medical Center is titled 'Children Living in Apartments with Non-Smoking Adults Still Exposed.'

The researchers studied nearly 6,000 children, between the ages of six and eighteen years of age, who lived in an apartment.

The children had been a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted from 2001 to 2006.

Page two provides the results of the study.



The researchers found that 84% of the children had been exposed to tobacco smoke'”even though they did not live with people who smoked.

The cotinine biomarker in the children's blood was checked by the researchers. Cotinine shows whether or not a person has been exposed to nicotine, a primary ingredient in tobacco.

Specifically, they found that there was a 45% increase in cotinine levels for African-American children and a much larger percentage (207%) for white children, both who were living in apartment complexes.

Dr. Karen Wilson, one of the authors of the study, stated, 'We are starting to understand the role that seepage through walls and through shared ventilation may impact tobacco smoke exposure in apartments.' [University of Rochester]

Dr. Wilson, an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital, added, 'We see that children are being exposed in ways we are not picking up, and it's important, for their health, that we figure out where this exposure is taking place, and work to eliminate it. Multi-unit housing is one potential source, but a very important one.' [University of Rochester]

The researchers state that about 18% of children in the United States live in apartments. They also found that children are much more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke while living in apartments if the apartments are part of subsidized housing communities.

Page three concludes.



The University of Rochester press release concludes with: 'Wilson said many parents are trying to limit their children's tobacco smoke exposure by not allowing smoking in their apartments, but they say they can smell tobacco smoke coming from other apartments or from common areas.'

And, 'Last summer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a memo recommending that their housing developments enact smoke-free policies. A smoking ban within multi-unit, subsidized housing could further reduce the tobacco smoke exposure for children and reduce smoking rates among residents.'

Studies have shown that children exposed to tobacco smoke, and with high levels of cotinine in their blood, have higher rates of respiratory(lung related) diseases, decreased cognitive (learning) abilities, and decreased antioxidant levels (fewer molecules to help strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases).



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