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Blood tests reveal tobacco smoke residues in non-smoking New Yorkers
Date:4/8/2009

ay be that living and working in close quarters with one another puts us at higher risk."

On sidewalks, including near building and subways entrances, non-smokers are still exposed to tobacco smoke unavoidably. The federal government has adopted regulations prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of federal building entrances to address complaints and health concerns; other cities and states have similar regulations for all buildings.

Among non-smoking New Yorkers, Asian adults were the most likely to have elevated cotinine levels (69%). Studies from other parts of the country show that Asian Americans, particularly Chinese Americans, are more likely to smoke at home. Lower-income New Yorkers were also more likely to be exposed than those with higher incomes (63% versus 54%).

This is the first time researchers have used blood tests to gauge second-hand smoke exposure in New York City, so it is not possible to say whether cotinine levels have increased or decreased over time.

The Health Department is currently airing two educational public service announcements on television highlighting the effect of smoking on one's family. One campaign, called "Cigarettes Are Eating You and Your Kids Alive," depicts the effects of second-hand smoke on children. It was originally aired in 2008. The graphic images remind viewers that second-hand smoke makes children more susceptible to pneumonia and ear infections, and contributes to lifelong health conditions such as asthma. The agency is simultaneously airing "Separation," which shows a little boy crying in a train station after momentarily losing his mother a moment meant to give a glimpse at the pain of losing a parent for life from a smoking-related death.

The facts about second-hand smoke

  • Second-hand smoke is toxic. Non-smokers who live with second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from cancer and heart disease. Women who live with second-hand smoke are mor
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Contact: Jessica Scaperotti
pressoffice@health.nyc.gov
212-788-5290
New York City Health Department
Source:Eurekalert

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