Online Program

Partnering with landlords and tenants to get the smoke out: San francisco's smoking disclosure policy as a “common ground” approach to advancing public health

Monday, November 4, 2013

Derek R. Smith, MPH/MSW, Community Health Equity & Promotion, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Susana Hennessey-Lavery, MPH, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Alyonik Hrushow, MPH, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Department of Public Health Tobacco-Free Project focuses on systems-level change to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the community. A lingering, intractable problem is exposure to secondhand smoke by non-smoking tenants in often crowded urban multi-unit housing complexes. In moving toward a tobacco-free community, efforts have been made to partner public health with content experts in the field of housing, particularly tenant-serving organizations and landlord trade groups. In considering smoke-free housing issues, property owners/managers can sometimes be hesitant or fearful of imposing new rules at their properties. Likewise, tenants are often concerned that new regulations will restrict access to housing or undermine existing tenant protections such as San Francisco's rent control ordinance.

From 2010-2012 a unique partnership between the Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Apartment Association, and Dolores Street Community Services was developed to create a dialogue around common ground on the very real issue of drifting smoke in multi-unit housing. After a myriad of data collection activities (surveying landlords and tenants about the drifting smoke issue, researching existing regulations on air quality, and collecting input from a broad group of constituents), the group met a clear consensus on the tenets of a policy that would disclose where smoking is allowed in multi-unit housing properties. That common ground approach led to a strong housing policy concept endorsed by public health, while also supported by two groups that sometimes differ in opinions on housing policy issues.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Define 2 perceived barriers to moving smoke-free housing policy forward. Discuss techniques to establish common ground and eliminate sticking points in negotiating policy models that work for opposing interest groups.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Policy, Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have lead tobacco prevention efforts for over 7 years, successfully working with community partners and directing community-led environmental change in the area of chronic disease 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.