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Almost half of apartment residents say they can smell secondhand smoke from their neighbors in their own homes, a new survey suggests. Nearly one-third of people living in apartments say they can smell secondhand smoke in their building’s public spaces, HealthDay reports.

Study author Dr. Karen Wilson, of Children’s Hospital Colorado, surveyed 323 apartment residents from around the country, whose own apartments were smoke free for at least three months. Among residents who smelled secondhand smoke, 38 percent said it occurred weekly, and 12 percent said they smelled smoke every day.

In buildings with total smoke-free policies, residents were less likely to smell secondhand smoke in common areas. Complaints about secondhand smoke smells in public spaces were as frequent among people who lived in buildings with bans that included only common areas, as they were in buildings with no smoking restrictions at all.

“A significant number of residents of multi-unit housing are being unwillingly exposed to tobacco smoke, in some cases on a daily basis, and children seem to be especially vulnerable,” lead author Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “This exposure could put children at risk for respiratory diseases and illness if it is persistent or if the child has a significant respiratory illness such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.”

The findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting.

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