Online Program

Smoke-free public housing: Expanding efforts from high rise buildings to family developments

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cynthia Roberts, PhD, Tobacco Control Program, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI
Melissa Sanzaro, Providence Housing Authority, Providence, RI
Marcela Betancur, Providence Housing Authority
Ellen Cynar, M.S., M.P.H., City of Providence Healthy Communities Office, Providence, RI
Smoke-free policy in public housing is a growing trend in the United States. Such policies protect vulnerable populations from secondhand smoke. During CPPW the City of Providence and its partners joined efforts to help PHA residents go smoke-free. Phase One of the smoke-free initiative began with five high-rises that serve elderly and disabled residents and the second phase expanded to family housing developments. This presentation shares the key steps, critical components, and lessons learned while passing and implementing a smoke-free policy in a public housing authority. We conducted pre-policy resident focus groups and surveys and documented key factors that occurred during the policy adoption and implementation which contributed to successes and challenges associated with policy passage and implementation. Over 1000 residents from 5 high-rise buildings and families from 535 family units have participated in smoke-free housing policy change. While 27% of high-rise residents smoked, 83% supported smoke free policy. In family developments, 35% of residents smoked, and 88% of supported smoke-free policy. Educating about the dangers of secondhand smoke, offering free on-site tobacco cessation, and designating smoking areas are all cited as key facilitators of smoke-free policy. Challenges included enforcement and recruiting residents to avail cessation services. Public housing is an important area where tobacco-related disparities can be addressed. Smoke-free policies present a unique opportunity to protect vulnerable populations from secondhand smoke. Lessons learned by the City of Providence during CPPW can be shared with other communities who would like to pass similar policies.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe key successes and challenges associated with smoke-free policy in public housing. Discuss challenges unique to family residences as compared to high-rise buildings. Demonstrate the importance of conducting resident focus groups and surveys during the policy adoption and implementation process.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Policy, Public Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a coordinator for ongoing work in the City of Providence related to promoting policy and environmental change to improve public health, including reduced exposure to smoke free air.
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.