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Resident Reactions to Smoke-free Policy Implementation in Public Housing

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Objectives: Smoke-free policies could be potent tools to decrease tobacco disparities in government-subsidized multi-unit housing. This qualitative study examined residents' reactions to a smoke-free policy enacted in summer 2014. Methods: We conducted focus groups 3 and 9 months post-policy with a cohort of residents of 5 public housing high-rise sites in Minneapolis, Minnesota (N = 26 groups). Smokers and non-smokers attended separate groups. Results: Fifty-seven of 112 participants at baseline were current smokers. Participants in all groups provided accurate descriptions of tobacco use rules and reported efforts to comply with the policy. Some smokers also reported quit attempts and decreasing cigarette use. However, both groups voiced concerns that the policy was an infringement of their rights and many could not identify the health rationale for the policy despite efforts by the housing authority to inform residents. Both groups mentioned negative effects on interpersonal relationships among residents. Smokers identified barriers to using outside smoking areas and many expressed doubt that the policy would be effectively enforced. Conclusions: The results suggest the potential for smoke-free policy impact to be enhanced via an optimized implementation strategy and enhanced communication.
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Keywords: FOCUS GROUPS; LOW-INCOME HOUSING; POLICY; TOBACCO SMOKE POLLUTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2017-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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