'Neighbour smoke' is transfer of secondhand smoke between apartments including shared areas, such as hallways, community rooms and stairwells in multiunit dwellings and is an emerging issue for public health and health equity.
To describe the prevalence of exposure to neighbour smoke in Denmark.
A population-based sample of 5049 respondents (2183 in multiunit dwellings) living in Denmark aged =15 years completed a questionnaire in 2010 on tobacco-related behaviour and exposure to secondhand smoke. The authors examined the relations between exposure to neighbour smoke, own smoking, smoking inside the home, type of residence and demographic factors with descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis.
In this sample, 22% of those living in multiunit dwellings reported exposure to neighbour smoke. Of respondents living in apartments, 41% preferred to live in a building in which smoking is banned. Smoke-free buildings were preferred by 58% of persons exposed to neighbour smoke compared with 37% of persons not exposed. Of the smokers (daily and occasional), 14% preferred to live in a smoke-free building; 31% never smoked indoors in their own home.
The only way to avoid absorbing tobacco smoke from neighbours is to live in a smoke-free multiunit dwelling. There is great demand for such dwellings, especially by young people, people with children and people exposed to neighbour smoke, as well as by people who smoke.
This study explores the legal and ethical considerations of extending tobacco legislation to include multiunit dwellings (MUDs) in Alberta and the implications for public health nursing practice. The tobacco legislation in Canada currently protects individuals in public places and not private dwellings. In Alberta, there are over 1 million individuals living in MUDs who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Children are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects. As well, many apartment fires in Alberta are related to smoking which makes expanding tobacco legislation to include MUDs an important public health issue. There are many potential barriers to the adoption of this tobacco legislation including legal, ethical, and civil rights concerns, and the bureaucracy of the political process. This study articulates the position that it is both legal and ethical to expand provincial tobacco legislation to include MUDs after the consideration of individual civil rights and using the Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2008) as a guide for practice. Public health nurses must advocate for a change in the current legislation by becoming politically active and building community capacity to demonstrate accountability and promote social justice.