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Health Issues

Smoke-free Housing

​​Many agencies and buildings are moving towards keeping all of their structures smoke free, in an effort to reduce the amount of people exposed to tobacco smoke. This will be especially helpful for children, who have still-developing lungs and are easily harmed by smoke exposure. See Why are Smoke-free Environments a Big Deal? for more information.  

Fasts About Smoke-free Housing

  • Blood levels of cotinine, the typical marker of tobacco smoke exposure, are higher for children in non-smoking apartments than other non-smoking types of homes. This is most likely due to smoke from neighboring apartment units.

  • Despite residential buildings that allow smoking being a fire hazard, health danger, and more expensive to insure, only about 4% of Public Housing Authorities in the US have voluntarily made its buildings smoke-free.

  • Children exposed to tobacco smoke are at risk for asthma and other respiratory illnesses, earaches, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  • Some populations are more likely to become sick from smoke exposure such as children, the elderly, people with disabilities, or pregnant women. Some of these groups are also more likely to live in public housing buildings and can be easily exposed to smoke.

  • ​The estimated cost of decontamination of a two-bedroom housing unit can be as much as $15,000.

  • In July 2009, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development released a memo encouraging Public Housing Authorities to implement non-smoking policies in some or all of their public housing units.

  • How far can tobacco smoke travel? Tobacco smoke can be measured in high quantities more than 20 feet from an outdoor source.

  • According to a study published in a 2009 edition of Tobacco Control, 89% of low-income apartments with no smokers had detectable air nicotine concentrations.

Smoke-free Housing Resources

For tenants hurt by tobacco smoke:

For landlords:

Smoke-free affordable housing:

Find smoke-free housing in your area:

Smoke-free Housing in the News

Smoke-free housing has been a "hot topic" in recent news. Below, you will find information from various media sources about this important issue.


Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2017)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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