Correlates of Smoke-Free Housing Policies and Interest in Implementing Policies among Multiunit Housing Owners in New York City

Shannon M. Farley, Elizabeth Needham Waddell, Micaela H. Coady, Victoria Grimshaw, Danielle A. Wright, Jenna Mandel-Ricci, Susan M. Kansagra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Disparities
  • Housing
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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