New York City has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws in the country, banning people from lighting up at work and many public places. Although the laws have helped clear the air, a new study from the city’s health department suggests they’re not enough to protect non-smokers from cancer-causing clouds. The study found 57 percent of non-smoking New Yorkers tested positive for cotinine, a non-harmful nicotine byproduct indicative of secondhand smoke exposure, significantly higher than the 45 percent national average.

“It’s not clear why New Yorkers experience more exposure, despite the city’s relatively low smoking rate. It may be that living and working in close quarters with one another puts us at higher risk,” explained Jennifer Ellis, the lead author of the study and a former health department epidemiologist. The study did find that non-smoking “adults aged 20-39 years, males, and Asians” were the most affected by secondhand smoke. In semi-related news, researchers have determined that cannabis is a proven cancer killer so fire up your bongs, it’s healthy!

Photo of C215 stencil by loop_oh