262198 Getting the smoke out: Effective technical assistance for tenants facing drifting smoke in their apartment homes

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Derek R. Smith, MPH/MSW , Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Gabriela Lemus , Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Edith Cabuslay, MPH , Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Unit, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Scott Morrow, MD, MPH , Health Officer, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing is a major public health concern, and the San Mateo County Tobacco Prevention Program (TPP) has prioritized social norm change around smoke-free housing. The program developed smoke-free housing advertising, conducted outreach efforts for housing leaders, and implemented tenant and landlord smoke-free housing opinion surveys. A key message of this effort is to call TPP with questions about managing drifting smoke.

Given the many complaint and inquiry calls to the program, staff educate callers on current policies, demonstrate strategies to mediate smoke-free housing problems, and share resources to assist the tenants. Staff guide callers through a step-by-step process to encourage the callers' landlords to adopt a voluntary smoke-free policy in their housing complex.

The Tobacco Prevention Program has developed various tools, including phone call screening forms; a call tracking form that can be utilized to mobilize tenants; sample letters sent to residents, landlords, smokers, and city staff; website resources on smoke-free housing; and a local smoke-free housing fact sheet for landlords. The program has encountered several best practices for supporting tenants, including:

-Communicating a step-by-step advocacy process for tenants to resolve their issue and encouraging tenants to start at the simplest possible solution. -Ensuring correspondence directed to tenants is also cc'd to elected officials and city manager in their community to inform these leaders of the issue. -Tracking calls closely to be able to mobilize callers for future smoke-free housing advocacy opportunities. -Directing callers to the TPP website to access additional advocacy tools and resources.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) List 5 key steps for tenants to resolve a drifting smoke issue. 2) Discuss 2 ways in which tenant advocacy can lead to larger community change.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Community Capacity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have maintained a community coalition to lead countywide tobacco prevention activities for 6 years, working with a variety of partners on myriad tobacco prevention and treatment issues.
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.