Introduction: Mandatory smoke-free policies in subsidized, multiunit housing (MUH) may decrease secondhand smoke exposure in households with the highest rates of exposure. Ideally, policies should be based on a strong understanding of factors affecting support for smoke-free policies in the target population to maximize effectiveness.
Methods: A face-to-face survey was conducted from August to October 2011 using a stratified random sample of private subsidized housing units in Columbus, OH, without an existing smoke-free policy (n = 301, 64% response rate). Lease holders were asked to report individual, social, and environmental factors hypothesized to be related to support for smoke-free policies. Multiple logistic regression models were used to identify factors independently associated with policy support.
Results: Most tenants supported smoke-free policies in common areas (82.7%), half supported policies inside units (54.5%), and one third supported a ban outside the building (36.3%). Support for smoke-free policies in units and outdoors was more common among nonsmokers than smokers (71.5% vs. 35.7%, p < .001 and 46.2% vs. 25.4%, p < .001, respectively). Several individual and social, but no environmental, factors were independently associated with policy support. Smokers who intended to quit within 6 months or less were more likely than other smokers to support in-unit policies (45.3% vs. 21.1%; p = .003).
Conclusions: More than half of subsidized MUH tenants supported smoke-free policies inside their units. Strategies to address individual- and social-level barriers to behavior change should be implemented in parallel with smoke-free policies. Policies should be evaluated with objective measures to determine their effectiveness.