2.5 million NYC non-smokers have high cotinine levels

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said that approximately 2.5 million non-smoking New Yorkers have high amounts of a nicotine by-product called cotinine in their blood due to second-hand smoke exposure. While cotinine itself is not initially dangerous, toxins in second hand smoke can lead to health problems including cancer. The study attributes New York’s population density as a reason for the (57%) with increased cotiene levels in comparison to that of the United States (45%). Since this is the first time blood tests have been used for the study in New York City, it is hard to tell if there was an increase or decrease over time. The data was published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research
As a non-smoker, I avoid standing by those who smoke, but the press release said that even on sidewalks and subway entrances, second hand smoke is still breathed in regardless. In a perfect world, all people will give up smoking, so bystanders won’t have to hold their breath in fear of inhaling nicotine byproducts. Until then, a middle ground should be met.

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