Did You Know That Smoke-Free Policies Can Be Effective in Permanent Supportive Housing?

 Smoke-free policies effectively reduce secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure among non-smokers, reduce consumption, encourage quit attempts, and minimize relapse to smoking among smokers. However, such policies are uncommon in permanent supportive housing (PSH) for formerly homeless individuals. A recently published study, involving a collaboration with a PSH provider in San Diego, California, assessed a smoke-free policy that restricted indoor smoking. Between August and November 2015, residents completed a pre-policy questionnaire on attitudes toward smoke-free policies and exposure to secondhand smoke, and then 7-9 months after policy implementation residents were re-surveyed.

Findings included:

  • At follow-up, there was a 59.7% reduction in indoor smoking.
  • The proportion of residents who identified as current smokers reduced by 13%.
  • The proportion of residents who reported never smelling SHS indoors; in outdoor areas next to the living unit; and in other outdoor areas was lower post-policy compared with pre-policy.
  • Overall, resident support increased by 18.7%; however, the greatest increase in support occurred among current smokers.
  • Fewer current smokers reported that the policy would enable cessation at post-policy.
The researchers concluded that these findings demonstrate the feasibility of implementing smoke-free policies in PSH for formerly homeless adults. However, the researchers cautioned that policy alone may not be sufficient to trigger change in smoking behavior, highlighting the need for additional cessation resources to facilitate quitting.
Source: Petersen et al. (2017). Smoking Policy Change Within Permanent Supportive Housing. Journal of Community Health, Sep 7. doi: 10.1007/s10900-017-0423-7. [Epub ahead of print]

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