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Secondhand Smoke

April 29, 2009

More than half of New Yorkers show signs of exposure to secondhand smoke.


Smoke-free in the city?…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

New York City has lower-than-average smoking rates and a smoking ban in most public places. But a new study found that 57 percent of non-smoking New Yorkers still show signs of secondhand smoke exposure. Lorna Thorpe is deputy commissioner of the New York City Health Department. She and her colleagues found that study volunteers had elevated levels of cotinine in their blood, which is a breakdown product of nicotine.

LORNA THORPE (NYC Department of Health):
It’s probable that New York City adults by virtue of the fact that we are living in a densely populated, urban, compact environment are encountering secondhand smoke more frequently than people who live in more sparsely populated areas.

Thorpe says that despite the progress that’s been made, these results suggest that secondhand smoke is still a significant public health issue. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.