Introduction: We studied the impact of implementing a comprehensive smoke-free policy in multiunit housing in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Among low-income tenants living in a subset of subsidized multiunit buildings, we evaluated cessation-related behaviors, policy knowledge and compliance, and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure.
Methods: We mailed a self-administered questionnaire to a random sample of 839 current tenants of 17 subsidized buildings 4 months after policy implementation in January 2008 and sent another questionnaire to participants 1 year later. Results are based on 440 tenants who completed both surveys.
Results: We observed a self-reported annualized quit rate of 14.7% over the study period (95% CI = 7.9%-21.6%) compared with a historical quit rate in this population of 2.6% (95% CI = 0.6%-4.5%). Almost half of ongoing smokers reduced their cigarette consumption. More smokers correctly reported policy rules for indoor settings than for outdoor settings; self-reported indoor smoking decreased significantly from 59% to 17%. Among nonsmokers, frequent indoor SHS exposure (multiple times per week) decreased significantly from 41% prepolicy to 17% postpolicy.
Conclusions: The implementation of a smoke-free policy was associated with positive changes in cessation-related behaviors and reduced SHS exposure in this population of low-income adults.