Tobacco smoke incursion into private residences in Israel: a cross-sectional study examining public perceptions of private rights and support for governmental policies

Noa Theitler, Vaughan W. Rees, Maya Peled-Raz, Michal Bitan, Laura J. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Tobacco smoke incursion (TSI) into private residences is a widespread problem in many countries. We sought to assess the prevalence of self-reported TSI and public attitudes about TSI in Israel, a country with a relatively high smoking prevalence and high population density.

METHODS: We conducted a random digit dial survey among residents in Israel (N = 285) in 2017, which examined the frequency, source, correlates of, and attitudes towards TSI and potential regulatory options. The cooperation rate was 63.9%.

RESULTS: Among respondents, 44.7% reported ever experiencing home TSI, with higher exposure among residents of multi-unit housing (MUH) (MUH versus private homes: aOR (Adjusted Odds Ratio): 3.60, CI (Confidence Interval): [1.96, 6.58], p < .001). Most respondents (69.8%), including nearly half of smokers, prioritized the right of individuals to breath smoke-free air in their apartments over the right of smokers to smoke in their apartments. Women and non-smokers were more likely to support the right to breathe smoke-free air (Women versus men: aOR: 2.77 CI: [1.48, 5.16], p = .001; Nonsmokers versus smokers: aOR: 3.21 CI [1.59, 6.48], p = .001). However, only about a quarter (24.8%) of respondents who ever experienced TSI raised the issue with the neighbor who smoked, the neighbor's landlord, or the building committee. The vast majority (85.2%) of all respondents, including three-quarters of smokers, supported smoke-free legislation for multi-unit housing (MUH), with those ever-exposed to TSI and non-smokers more likely to support legislation (ever-exposed versus never-exposed aOR = 2.99, CI [1.28, 6.97], p = 0.011; nonsmokers versus smokers aOR = 3.00, CI [1.28, 7.01], p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS: Among study participants, tobacco smoke incursion was a common, yet unwelcome experience. Most respondents believed that the right to breathe smoke-free air in one's apartment superseded that of neighbors to smoke anywhere in their home, and most supported legislation to prevent TSI. Though further study is needed to understand better TSI and effective methods for its prevention, our findings suggest that policy interventions, including legal action at the level of the Supreme Court and/or the Knesset, are needed. Regulation, policy initiatives and campaigns to denormalize smoking in proximity to other people and private residences globally could reduce the scope of this widespread problem, protect individuals from home TSI, and improve population health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Policy
  • Public Opinion
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution/prevention & control


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