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L.A. County warns apartment, condo dwellers of secondhand smoke

November 16, 2011 | 12:34 pm

Cigarette illustration. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Public health officials in Los Angeles County are warning nonsmoking residents of multi-unit apartment and condo buildings that they are at risk of secondhand smoke.

Smoke can travel through walls, electrical outlets, pipes, vents and windows of buildings, officials announced Wednesday. The warning was based on findings by Stanford researcher Dr. Neil Klepeis, who measured levels of particle smoke in buildings throughout the county and concluded that some nonsmoking apartments are as smoky as some bars. Smoke also clings to floors and furniture and can linger for months, according to research.

Roughly 40% of housing units in Los Angeles County are in multi-unit buildings such as condominium complexes, duplexes and apartment buildings. Even when the smoke cannot be smelled or seen, health officials said there is still a danger. Secondhand smoke can lead to heart disease, lung disease and respiratory problems.

Several cities have passed smoke-free housing ordinances, including Baldwin Park and Compton. Public health officials urged other cities to follow suit and ban smoking in units and on balconies and lobbies.

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-- Anna Gorman

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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