University Study Finds High Levels of Exposure to Nicotine for Children Who Live in Apartment Buildings: A Major Racial Disparity Exists

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York have found that children who live in apartments have higher levels of cotinine in their blood than children who live in single-family homes. Cotinine indicates exposure to nicotine from second-hand smoke. Studies have shown that children with increased levels of cotinine are more likely to develop respiratory diseases and to have weaker cognitive abilities.

The data showed that apartment-dwelling children had higher cotinine levels even when no one in their immediate household smoked tobacco. The researchers concluded that to some extent, second-hand smoke is seeping through walls or shared ventilation systems in apartment buildings.

About 18 percent of all American children live in apartment buildings. And black children are more likely to live in these dwellings, particularly those buildings with inferior construction and ventilation.