Implementation of a smoke-free policy in subsidized multiunit housing: effects on smoking cessation and secondhand smoke exposure

Nicotine Tob Res. 2012 Sep;14(9):1027-34. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr334. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Plan Implementation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oregon
  • Public Housing*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking Cessation / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution