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Health Educ Res. 2019 Jan 8. doi: 10.1093/her/cyy053. [Epub ahead of print]

Implementation and enforcement of smoke-free policies in public housing.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory Prevention Research Center, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Youth Empowered Solutions, 4021 Carya Dr., Raleigh, NC, USA.


Smoke-free policies such as those required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have the potential to reduce persistent income-related disparities in secondhand smoke exposure. To understand the implementation and enforcement process, as well as barriers and facilitators to compliance and enforcement, we conducted semi-structured interviews (n=37) with representatives from 23 Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) with some level of smoking restriction in place, along with residents from 14 of these PHAs, from January to August 2016. Residents were typically notified of the new policy through group meetings, new resident orientations and/or one-on-one discussions during lease renewal or annual recertification. Timing of implementation varied, with advanced notice of 6 months or a year most common. Enforcement typically involved a series of verbal and/or written warnings, followed by written notice of lease violation, and eventual notice of lease termination and/or eviction. Challenges in enforcement were generally classified as monitoring difficulties or legal concerns. Characterizing current practices (e.g. advance notice, clear communication of escalating consequences, cessation support and concrete evidence of violation) from early adopters sets the stage for identifying best practices and helps to ensure successful and fair implementation of smoke-free policies in subsidized housing.


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