As a culture, Americans have been taught that there is one way to avoid the detrimental health effects of cigarette smoking: do not smoke. However, studies have shown that more children are being exposed to tobacco smoke even if they are not lighting up themselves.
A new study has found that children living in apartment buildings, even if they are in smoke-free households, are significantly more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke than those living in stand-alone houses, reported the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Researchers found that children based in apartment buildings had a 45 percent more of a nicotine byproduct in their bloodstreams than those living in stand-alone homes, implying that they were exposed to secondhand smoke through building ventilation systems or from smoke absorbed into shared walls, the study found.
The study, which tracked over 5,000 children ranging from ages 6 to 18 living in smoke-free units, found more than 84 percent of those living in apartment buildings had been exposed to tobacco smoke, compared to 80 percent of kids in attached houses and 70 percent in stand-alone homes.
Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for nonsmokers, according to the National Cancer Institute. Onsets of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke can all result from secondhand smoke, which can lead to higher life insurance premiums and rack up expensive medical bills.