261932 How has the news media told the story of smoke-free public housing?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Ann Carroll Klassen, PhD , Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Aaron Pankiewicz, MPH , Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Amy R. Confair, MPH , Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Jeannette Bowles, MSW , Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Background Addressing disparities in environmental tobacco exposure requires implementation of smoke-free policies in publicly-owned multi-unit housing. In 2009, HUD issued a notice that encouraged public housing authorities to institute smoke-free policies in some or all of their units; however, many localities began considering, or implemented, bans prior to 2009. The role of the news media in shaping public understanding and support for such public health initiatives is critical. We analyzed print news media coverage of smoking bans and smoke-free policies in public housing in order to understand potential opportunities for advocacy and improved messaging.

Methods Using databases of U.S. English-language newspapers, we identified relevant local and national coverage between 1/1/1996 and 12/31/2011. Structured codes developed through an iterative multi-reader process identified topics and thematic content, sources cited, framing of issues and stakeholders, tone (positive, negative or mixed), and framing of irresolvable versus resolvable conflicts for stakeholders that resulted from these policies. Qualitative analyses focused on stories with substantial content and used qualitative memoing to identify contextual themes and issues.

Results Across the 15 years, 166 articles, editorials, and opinion pieces appeared in 77 regional and national papers in 30 States. Coverage has increased significantly, with 52% of articles published in 2010/2011. "Smokers' rights" themes were common, yet "opportunity to quit" stories often featured smokers who welcomed smoke-free programs and accompanying quit assistance.

Conclusions As more localities implement smoke-free public housing, lessons learned from media coverage in early-adopting jurisdictions can inform communication strategies to increase stakeholder support.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current status of smoke-free public housing initiatives in the US Analyze the print news media's potential role in forming public opinion on this issue, and garnering support for this policy initiative Compare quantitative and qualitative content analysis approaches to media studies

Keywords: Media, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am department chair and associate dean for research at Drexel University School of Public Health and am currently Principal Investigator of an evaluation of smoke free public housing implementation in Philadelphia.
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.