Flat-dwelling kids 'more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke'

London, Dec 14 (ANI): A US study has shown that kids living in flats have 45pc more exposure to tobacco smoke than those in detached houses.

According to researchers from Harvard and Rochester Universities, the exposure in flats is due to the smoke seeping in through walls and shared ventilation systems.

Researchers took samples only from children who live in a household where nobody smokes, and they looked for cotinine - a product of nicotine and a highly sensitive marker for tobacco - in their subject's blood.

The study found that 73 percent of the 5,000 children analysed were exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke.

Overall, researchers found that 84.5 percent of children who were living in blocks of flats had a cotinine level that indicated recent tobacco-smoke exposure, compared with 79.6 percent of children who were living in attached houses and 70.3 percent who were living in detached houses.

"If your neighbours are smoking then you are exposed if you live through the wall in a semi-detached house," the BBC quoted Dr Jonathan Winickoff, study author and associate professor of paediatrics at Harvard Medical School, as saying.

"In apartment buildings this effect is magnified. Smoke contaminates the whole building. This study is the last link in the chain of evidence. It demonstrates the overwhelming need for smoke-free buildings.

"In years to come, people will shake their heads in disbelief that there was ever smoking in homes where children live, eat, sleep and breathe," he stated.

Karen Wilson, assistant professor of paediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, said parents try so hard to protect their children from dangers, such as tobacco smoke, but have no control over them being exposed to second-hand smoke in their own homes.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said there was a "strong case" for making blocks of flats smoke free.

"There is a strong case for social and private sector landlords designating some entire blocks as smoke-free to respect the choice and the health of the great majority of their tenants," Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at the UK group ASH, added. (ANI)

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