247995 Readiness to put out the smoke-free welcome mat: Factors influencing property manager attitudes on smoke-free policies

Monday, October 31, 2011

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 1,000+ surveys on the topic of smoke-free apartment policies to local property owners, receiving more than 250 completed responses. The survey elicited landlord attitudes toward smoke-free policies (benefits and barriers of adopting a policy) and information on demographics, existing policies, and history of tenant complaints.

Property owners with more than 100 units, compared to smaller owners, reported notably higher ratings for potential barriers to smoke-free policy adoption and significantly lower ratings of benefits to smoke-free adoption. These correlations were present in 10 of 11 survey indicators when compared to landlords with few holdings (30 or less units) and mid-sized landlords (31-100). The effect was especially pronounced for two perceived barriers to smoke-free adoption (losing existing tenants and actively enforcing a policy), and two perceived benefits (reducing tenant health risk and mitigating legal problems).

The data also indicate that citywide smoke-free ordinances positively bias the attitudes of landlords in those cities toward smoke-free policies. Landlords in the city of Belmont (with its fully implemented smoke-free ordinance) rated the benefits of smoke-free adoption highest when compared to landlords in other jurisdictions, with the most pronounced difference in the perceived benefits of lowering insurance costs and reducing tenant complaints. Landlords in Menlo Park (with a recently adopted ordinance) rated perceived barriers to smoke-free adoption significantly lower than other landlords.

Landlords with larger rental properties may be less inclined to adopt smoke-free policies, while mandated policies may sway landlord opinions on this public health issue.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify 2 factors that influence property manager decisions to take action to promote the health of tenants. 2) Analyze the effect of existing local governmental policies on decision-making and perceptions of health issues.

Keywords: Indoor Environment, Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have directed the Tobaco Prevention Program for 5 years and have experience managing a wide variety of tobacco control projects.
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.