Online Program

Evaluation of air quality in Boston housing authority multi-unit developments pre- and post-implementation of portfolio-wide smoking prohibition

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Elizabeth Russo, MD, Research and Evaluation Office, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Margaret Reid, RN BA, Division of Healthy Homes and Community Support, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Leon Bethune, MPH, Environmental Health Office, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Snehal Shah, MD, MPH, Research and Evaluation Office, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
INTRODUCTION. Levels of small particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air are higher in smoking homes than in smoke-free homes and confining smoking to certain areas of living space does not offer protection from secondhand smoke. This air quality study assessed whether there was a measurable difference in the PM2.5 levels of a sample of Boston Housing Authority (BHA) developments with and without smoking policies in place given that a BHA-wide smoking prohibition took effect September 30, 2012. METHODS. Paired smoking and non-smoking residents were recruited from five housing developments with and without smoking policies from August-December 2012. PM2.5 monitors were placed in resident homes for 72 hours while residents tracked exposure to tobacco smoke and other ambient conditions on hourly logs. Monitors were also placed in adjoining common hallways to assess aerosol transfer between smoking and non-smoking units. RESULTS. Thirty-two units were included for analysis; PM2.5 measurements were recorded in the homes of 15 smokers, 11 non-smokers, and six empty units to be analyzed as non-smokers. Preliminary analysis confirms our experimental hypothesis that smoking units have on average higher aerosolized particulate matter (0.127mg/m^3) than do non-smoking units (0.023mg/m^3). Furthermore, the non-smoking common areas had average levels intermediate to the two (0.025mg/m^3), suggesting that tobacco smoke particles infiltrate non-smoking areas. DISCUSSION. This air quality evaluation pre- and post-policy implementation of BHA's portfolio-wide smoking prohibition supports existing evidence that secondhand tobacco smoke permeates non-smoking areas, thus endangering vulnerable non-smokers.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Compare air quality measurements from smoking and nonsmoking spaces Observe that secondhand smoke permeates nonsmoking spaces

Keyword(s): Public Housing, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of this evaluation of air quality in public housing before and after the implementation of the portfolio-wide policy prohibiting smoking in the buildings. For the last five years, I have conducted program evaluations internationally regarding water sanitation and at the local level regarding obesity and tobacco prevention.
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.

Back to: 4264.0: Emerging Research in Tobacco