Developing Smoke-Free Policies in Public Housing: Perspectives From Early Adopters in 2 Southern States
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Developing Smoke-Free Policies in Public Housing: Perspectives From Early Adopters in 2 Southern States

Filetype[PDF-386.92 KB]

  • English

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      Prev Chronic Dis
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      Purpose and Objectives

      In 2016, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new rule requiring smoke-free policies in conventional public housing by July 2018 (HUD, 2016). This process evaluation describes the policy development experiences of conventional and nonconventional public housing authorities (PHAs) in North Carolina and Georgia that had established smoke-free policies before the HUD rule.

      Intervention Approach

      HUD began to issue guidance that encouraged smoke-free policies in public housing in 2009, and most early adopters were outside of the Southeast. Documenting the process early adopters in the Southeast used to develop their policies provides useful lessons for conventional PHAs and those with properties not covered by the rule.

      Evaluation Methods

      Semi-structured interviews were conducted with PHA representatives from 23 PHAs with some level of smoking restriction, along with residents from 14 of these PHAs, from January to August 2016.


      Organizational leaders and board members were usually the primary players in making the decision to adopt a policy, with approval processes consistent with any type of policy adoption. Common reasons for establishing the policy included costs of turning a unit; health of children, nonsmokers, and staff; HUD guidance; and concerns or experience with fire caused by cigarettes. Levels of restriction were influenced by layout of the property, perceptions of compliance and enforcement challenges, concerns about smokers congregating, resident mobility, weather concerns, consistency with HUD guidance, and availability of funds for designated smoking areas. Resident input was obtained through general meetings, resident advisory boards or councils, surveys, and formal comment periods.

      Implications for Public Health

      Understanding the process of policy development and adoption enables public health practitioners to be more effective partners in advising on the flexible components of the HUD smoke-free rule and accelerating the adoption of comprehensive policies within nonconventional PHAs.

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