Secondhand smoke and smokefree policies in owner-occupied multi-unit housing

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Nov;43(5 Suppl 3):S187-96. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.07.039.


Background: Studies have documented movement of secondhand smoke (SHS) between units in multi-unit buildings, but none has focused on owner-occupied units in common-interest communities (CICs). In Minnesota, approximately 170,000 households (8%) live in such units. CIC households may experience long-term SHS exposure because owner-occupants typically live in the same unit for many years.

Purpose: This study estimated the prevalence of SHS incursion in CICs and assessed residents' attitudes toward SHS incursions and interest in smokefree policies.

Methods: A stratified sample of Minnesota CIC owner-occupants was surveyed in 2009, with analysis in 2010-2011. Data were weighted to account for differing sampling, response, and coverage rates by stratum, then calibrated to population control totals for housing type, age, and smoking status.

Results: The response rate was 35.6%, with 495 completions. Twenty-eight percent of households reported SHS incursion into their unit in the preceding 6 months; 59% of these said this bothers them a lot. Only 6% report that their CIC has a smokefree policy for residents' units. Forty-two percent would prefer such a policy whereas 26% would prefer smoking-permitted. Sixty-three percent definitely and 17% probably would choose a no-smoking building over a smoking-permitted building if they were buying a new unit, and 46% would be willing to pay more for such a unit.

Conclusions: Secondhand smoke incursion is common in CICs, and interest in smokefree CICs greatly exceeds the supply. Given the known health risks of SHS exposure, tobacco control efforts in multi-housing should address CICs as well as rental households.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Data Collection
  • Health Policy*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution