Online Program

Bringing Healthy Air Home: How to implement a smoke-free multi-unit housing initiative in your community

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mark Gallegos, B.A., Office of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ
Susan Bergquist, Tobacco Prevention, Office of Tobacco and Chronic Disease Prevention, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ
Secondhand smoke has been eliminated from indoor workplaces in many states, yet when workers come home, those in multi-unit communities are often subjected to smoke from their neighbors in common areas and drifting into their own homes.

Maricopa County Public Health began exploring policy opportunities to reduce exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke for tenants of multi-unit housing after the topic was raised at a faith-based community summit in 2009. Maricopa County joined forces with community and health organizations to take action by building resident demand and providing technical assistance for properties to go smoke-free.

Work began with tobacco education presentations to property managers and tenants, creating an opportunity to build support. Coalition members joined the 2,000-member Arizona Multihousing Association and leveraged that relationship to network with property owners and regional managers and understand their needs. After formalizing the Arizona Smoke-Free Living Coalition in 2012, the group conducted market research of local renters, which revealed a strong demand for smoke-free rentals and a willingness to pay for this amenity.

To date, four workshops have been held to engage property owners and managers. Beyond helping attendees understand the benefits and resources for going smoke-free, these meetings served as informal focus groups to understand the concerns of the industry and have led to more formal advisory committees.

Due to these efforts, 46 properties are now either entirely smoke-free or only allow smoking in designated areas. Ten properties are in the process of adopting smoke-free policies and 169 are contemplating a change.

Now in its third year of work, the Coalition has developed sophisticated outreach plans that can be shared and adapted to other communities.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Define the policy stages of smoke-free properties Develop a plan to guide outreach to multi-unit property managers and owners Use Customer relationship management (CRM) technology to advance policy Leverage the strengths of coalition partners to increase the availability of smoke-free properties

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Mark Gallegos currently serves as the Community Development Supervisor for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Prior to this role, Mark worked for the John C. Lincoln Healthcare network where he was a program developer for their Transition Services. He also has twenty years of experience as a US Army Medical Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic) and more than five years of experience as an international medical contractor for developing armies on two different continents.
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.