(HealthDay News) – Many residents of multiunit housing (MUH) experience secondhand smoke (SHS) infiltration, despite having smoke-free home rules, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Brian A. King, PhD, MPH, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2009 American Community Survey to assess the prevalence and characteristics of MUH residency in the United States and the extent of SHS infiltration in this environment. Estimates of the prevalence of smoke-free home rules were obtained from the 2006–2007 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

The researchers found that 25.8% of U.S. residents lived in MUH (ranging from 10.1% in West Virginia to 51.7% in New York), of which 24.4% lived below the poverty level. Among 62.7 million MUH residents with smoke-free home rules, SHS infiltration was experienced by an estimated 27.6–28.9 million.

“The findings also show that an estimated 27.6–28.9 million MUH residents with smoke-free home rules have potentially experienced an SHS infiltration in their living unit that originated from elsewhere in or around their building,” the authors write. “Therefore, policies prohibiting smoking in MUH, including living units and indoor shared areas, represent the most effective way to fully protect MUH residents from involuntary exposure to SHS in this environment.”

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