Changes in Tobacco Smoke Exposure following the Institution of a Smoke-Free Policy in the Boston Housing Authority.

PloS one

PubMedID: 26360258

Levy DE, Adamkiewicz G, Rigotti NA, Fang SC, Winickoff JP. Changes in Tobacco Smoke Exposure following the Institution of a Smoke-Free Policy in the Boston Housing Authority. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0137740.
INTRODUCTION
To protect residents from tobacco smoke exposure (TSE), the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) prohibited smoking in BHA-owned apartments beginning in 2012. Our goal was to determine if the smoke-free policy reduced TSE for non-smoking BHA residents.

METHODS
We compared TSE before the smoke-free policy (2012) and one year later among BHA residents as well as residents of the neighboring Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) where no such policy was in place. Participants were a convenience sample of adult non-smoking BHA and CHA residents cohabitating with only non-smokers. Main outcomes were 7-day airborne nicotine in participants' apartments; residents' saliva cotinine; and residents' self-reported TSE.

RESULTS
We enrolled 287 confirmed non-smokers (192 BHA, 95 CHA). Seventy-nine percent (229) were assessed at follow-up. At baseline, apartment and resident TSE were high in both housing authorities (detectable airborne nicotine: 46% BHA, 48% CHA; detectable saliva cotinine: 49% BHA, 70% CHA). At follow-up there were significant but similar declines in nicotine in both sites (detectable: -33% BHA, -39% CHA, p = 0.40). Detectable cotinine rose among BHA residents while declining among CHA participants (+17% BHA vs. -13% CHA, p = 0.002). Resident self-reported TSE within and outside of the housing environment decreased similarly for both BHA and CHA residents.

CONCLUSIONS
Apartment air nicotine decreased after the introduction of the smoke-free policy, though the decline may not have resulted from the policy. The BHA policy did not result in reduced individual-level TSE. Unmeasured sources of non-residential TSE may have contributed to BHA residents' cotinine levels.