Pile of cigarette butts

Americans living in multiunit housing are more likely to use tobacco products than those living in single-family dwellings, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC investigators analyzed National Adult Tobacco Use Survey responses from 66,363 participants interviewed between 2013 and 2014. According to the CDC, 71.7 percent of respondents lived in single-family homes and 28.3 percent in multifamily environments. Almost two-thirds were white, 15 percent were Hispanic and 11.7 percent were black.

The data also indicated that tobacco use is more common among blacks, men and gay, lesbian and bisexual adults.

A co-author of the study, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, said it was the first time researchers had assessed housing-related differences in tobacco consumption.

The analysts also looked at exposure to secondhand smoke and the commonness of smoke-free restrictions in American homes.

Tobacco use has been linked to a a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Secondhand smoke also has been tied to cardiovascular conditions, as well as lung damage, and sinus and ear infections in children.

One of the notable findings is that nearly 25 percent of adults living in apartments and similar settings use tobacco products compared to nearly 19 percent of adults living in single-family homes, said study co-author Brian King, Ph.D., deputy director for research translation in the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

King also expressed concern that 81 percent of Americans living in multiunit housing restrict smoking in their homes, compared to 87 percent of those living in single-family units.

Another troubling statistic, the investigator said, is that 34 percent of persons living in apartments and condominiums who limit smoking in their homes are still exposed to secondhand smoke from sources outside them. King said studies on the environmental impact of secondhand smoke show it can seep through cracks in walls, doorways and ventilation systems.

“The magnitude of these estimates are really quite compelling,” said King, whose work has centered on tobacco use for about a decade.

Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., a tobacco-use researcher at the Unviersity of California, San Francisco, is heartened that a high percentage of families living in multiunit housing have put limits on smoking in their homes. But he is concerned that about a third are affected by secondhand smoke.

“The thing that’s very important in terms of cardiovascular disease is there’s a highly nonlinear dose response relationship: so a little bit of exposure is very bad,” said Glantz, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.

The CDC’s recent tobacco-use findings appear to show significant differences when considering gender, race and ethnicity.

For example, 14.5 percent of women living in a single-family dwellings report using tobacco products, compared with 23.4 percent of men. In addition, the data shows 19.3 of women living in apartment-type communities reported using tobacco, compared to 30.6 percent of men.

More than 25 percent of blacks and whites living in multifamily environments use tobacco products. Overall, Hispanics have a lower rate of tobacco use, but those who live in apartment-style housing are more likely to smoke.

Among adults living in single-family homes, tobacco use is highest among those between 18 to 24 years of age. In multifamily settings, it is highest among men and women between 45 and 64 years of age.

There are also regional differences in tobacco use.

Americans living in the Midwest and the South are more likely to use tobacco products than those living in states in the Northeast or West. Eighty five percent of survey participants living in single-family structures in the Northeast and West said they do not consume tobacco products, compared to 77 percent of respondents in those states who live in apartments and similar environments, the study shows.

In addition, high school dropouts, persons with only a high school diploma or who earned less than $20,000 a year were more likely to use tobacco.

The study comes on the heels of a CDC annual report on the nation’s health. Overall, the statistics show cigarette smoking has declined, but is more common in blacks and whites than Hispanics and Asians. In addition, men are more likely than women to smoke cigarettes.

Although CDC statistics show cigarette smoking has decreased steadily over the last 17 years, the consumption of other tobacco products such as cigars, electronic cigarettes and snus has remained flat or increased, the authors of the recent report said.