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‘Neighbour smoke’—exposure to secondhand smoke in multiunit dwellings in Denmark in 2010: a cross-sectional study
  1. Brian Køster,
  2. Anne-Line Brink,
  3. Inge Haunstrup Clemmensen
  1. Department of Prevention and Documentation, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brian Køster, Danish Cancer Society, Department of Prevention and Documentation, Strandboulevarden 49, Copenhagen DK-2100, Denmark; koester_brian{at}


Background ‘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.

Objective To describe the prevalence of exposure to neighbour smoke in Denmark.

Methods 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.

Results 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.

Conclusions 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.

  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • denormalization
  • prevention
  • secondhand smoke

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  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Data collection for this study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data collection included various subjects on environmental tobacco exposure in Denmark in 2010, including indoor and outdoor exposure, behaviour, knowledge of legislation and employment, income. Data are available at the Danish National Board of Health homepage (