245764 Gaining insight from business decision-makers: Surveying landlords to explore influences of smoke-free apartment policy adoption

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:15 PM

Derek R. Smith, MPH/MSW , Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Brightstar Ohlson, MS , Gibson and Associates, Oakland, CA
Gabriela Lemus , Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Edith Cabuslay, MPH , Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH , Health Officer, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
The San Mateo County (California) Tobacco Prevention Program distributed over 1,000 mailed surveys on the topic of smoke-free apartment policies to a sample of property owners in the community, receiving more than 250 completed responses. The survey gathered landlord attitudes toward smoke-free policies (benefits and barriers of adopting a policy), history with smoking at their properties (complaints received from tenants, existing indoor and outdoor policies), and additional descriptive data.

Preliminary analysis showed 62% of property owners reported having a smoke-free policy (6% indoor only, 23% outdoor only, 32% both indoor and outdoor). 38% of property owners reported having no policies related to smoking.

Landlords with no policies were substantially less likely to report having previously received complaints from tenants (21.6% versus 46.1% of those respondents with any policy).

Compared with property owners who reported some type of smoke-free policy at their apartment buildings, those without any policy indicated higher average ratings for identified potential barriers to smoke-free adoption. These barriers include being perceived as unfair to smokers, possibly encountering legal problems, and difficulty of enforcing smoke-free rules. Landlords without policies also had lower ratings of several categories of potential benefits to smoke-free policies, including repair costs, insurance premium discounts, and fire risk.

Allowing for open-ended responses in the survey revealed several additional landlord-generated benefits of adopting smoke-free policies, including better marketing opportunities and reduced cigarette butt litter pickup. Applications for the field include better tailored educational efforts focusing on the influences that landlords without smoke-free policies identify as relevant.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify 4 factors that influence property manager decisions to take action to promote the health of tenants. 2. Discuss a process of utilizing survey data to narrow tailored communication around a public health issue. 3. Analyze the influence of existing policies on decision-making around health issues among individuals in positions of authority.

Keywords: Housing, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have directed the San Mateo County Tobacco Prevention Program for 5 years and have experience working in a broad range of chronic disease prevention activities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.