As winter sets in and the temperature continues to drop, more people may decide to stay inside to smoke. This decision can be very dangerous, especially to those who live in apartments and multi-unit housing. Even if someone decides to smoke inside just during the winter months, there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.
Neighbors living in apartments share up to 65% of their air and smoke can travel through shared ventilation, heating systems, cracks in walls, openings around plumbing, under doors and through poor insulation. Secondhand smoke exposure may cause non-smoking adults to develop cancer and heart disease and children to have poor lung growth and develop serious lung illnesses1. E-cigarettes/vapes are also dangerous to use indoors. E-cigarette/vape users breathe out an aerosol, not a harmless water vapor. The aerosol contains nicotine, heavy metals like lead, and cancer-causing chemicals2.
If your apartment building doesn’t have a smoke-free policy, you and/or your family could be exposed to secondhand smoke. In addition to protecting all residents and visitors from secondhand smoke exposure, smoke-free policies can also reduce the risk of fires. If you are experiencing secondhand smoke drifting into your apartment, document the situation and talk to your landlord about how the smoke is affecting you and/or your family. If you are interested in learning more about smoke-free apartments, please call Tobacco-Free CNY at (315) 435-3280.