Secondhand smoke exposure is a concern in multiunit housing, where smoke can migrate between apartments. In 2012, the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted a cross-sectional mail and phone survey among a random sample of low-income and market-rate multiunit housing owners and managers in NYC. The study compared experiences and attitudes regarding smoke-free policies between owners/managers (owners) with and without low-income units. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the correlates of smoke-free residential unit rules and interest in adopting new smoke-free rules. Perceived benefits and challenges of implementing smoke-free rules were also examined. Overall, one-third of owners prohibited smoking in individual units. Among owners, nearly one-third owned or managed buildings with designated certified low-income units. Owners with low-income units were less likely than those without to have a smoke-free unit policy (26 vs. 36 %, p < 0.01) or be aware that owners can legally adopt smoke-free building policies (60 vs. 70 %, p < 0.01). In the final model, owners who believed that owners could legally adopt smoke-free policies were more likely to have a smoke-free unit policy, while current smokers and owners of larger buildings were less likely to have a policy. Nearly three quarters of owners without smoke-free units were interested in prohibiting smoking in all of their building/units (73 %). Among owners, correlates of interest in prohibiting smoking included awareness that secondhand smoke is a health issue and knowledge of their legal rights to prohibit smoking in their buildings. Current smokers were less likely to be interested in future smoke-free policies. Educational programs promoting awareness of owners’ legal right to adopt smoke-free policies in residential buildings may improve the availability of smoke-free multiunit housing.
- Secondhand smoke
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Urban Studies
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health