THURSDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- If you're a nonsmoker who lives in an apartment, your health may be at risk from your neighbors who smoke, says a new study.

Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., analyzed air quality data from 30 apartments within 11 buildings and found that secondhand smoke can travel from the apartments of smokers to hallways and apartments of nonsmokers.

The extent of the secondhand smoke transfer depends on a number of factors, including ventilation and distance between apartments, the investigators found.

The researchers said the best way to protect apartment residents from secondhand smoke is to have smoke-free buildings.

"This study suggests that individuals who live in apartment buildings are particularly susceptible to secondhand smoke exposure in their homes," lead investigator Brian King, of RPCI's department of health behavior, said in a news release from the institute. "Since many factors can impact the amount of secondhand smoke transfer between apartments, smoke-free building policies are the most effective way to protect apartment residents and their visitors from exposure."

The study appears online ahead of print in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about secondhand smoke.