Another Reason to Make Your Apartment Building a Non-Smoking Property

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on December 16, 2010 under Housing Trends, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background checkA new study in Pediatrics suggests that children living in apartment buildings are at higher risk of exposure to passive smoke than children living in detached houses. Experts say that components of tobacco smoke that are harmful to children can seep through apartment walls, then be absorbed by furniture, curtains, clothing and carpet. This makes vulnerable children unable to avoid exposure.

The study focused on 5,000 children who live in smoke-free households, including detached houses, duplexes and apartment buildings. Researchers looked for cotinine, a product of nicotine and a highly sensitive marker for tobacco, in the children’s blood. The study found that overall, 73% of the kids were exposed to tobacco. Of children who live in apartment buildings, 84.5% had cotinine levels indicating tobacco exposure, while only 70.3% of children living in detached homes did. For children in semi-attached or duplex homes, the figure was 79.6%.

These numbers suggest that no matter where they live, children have no control over second-hand smoke. But in apartment buildings, the chance of exposure is much higher than for kids in detached homes. No matter who is smoking, even if they are in an apartment on the next floor or down the hall, the chemicals and carcinogens travel through ventilation systems, shared walls and ductwork.

Other findings were that tobacco contaminants were highest in children under 12, those who are black and those who live below the poverty level. While parental smoking is the most common source of secondhand smoke exposure, the new study shows that parents even the children of nonsmoking are exposed to these harmful substances.

While it’s too early to know what ramifications studies like this will have on legislation, it’s not too far outside the realm of possibility to imagine that rental property owners who allow smoking in their units could, at some point, be held responsible for damages to non-smokers’ health. In a perfect world, no one would be exposed to others’ harmful habits—especially children who have absolutely no choice in the matter. Until then, rental property owners can convert their properties to smoke-free housing. This study could be the most compelling reason to do so ever.

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