Making affordable housing smoke-free lowers residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke and may even help smokers quit, a new study finds.
“Although more research is needed to investigate strategies to address compliance and enforcement issues, implementing smoke-free multi-unit housing policies in affordable housing may be a promising step toward eliminating tobacco-related disparities,” the researchers wrote.
The study included 180 residents of eight affordable housing properties in Minnesota. All the properties prohibited smoking indoors and three also banned smoking on the outdoor grounds.
The residents were surveyed one month before and six months after the smoke-free policies were implemented. Those policies led to a 20 percent reduction in nonsmokers’ indoor exposure to secondhand smoke, but there was no decrease in exposure to outdoor secondhand smoke, the researchers found.
At properties with only indoor smoking bans, there was actually an increase in outdoor secondhand smoke exposure, according to study authors John Kingsbury and Dawn Reckinger, of the Minnesota Department of Health.
The report was published Aug. 18 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.
After the smoke-free policies were put in place, 77 percent of residents who smoked said they reduced the amount they smoked and another 5 percent said they had quit, the authors noted in a journal news release.
The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.