INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of smoke-free policies in multiunit housing (MUH) in South Dakota was examined. Owner beliefs about smoke-free policies were identified.
METHODS: Stratified random sampling included 27 South Dakota counties classified as frontier, large rural, or urban. Data collection with MUH owners in selected counties employed a telephone survey with mailed backup.
RESULTS: The owner response rate was 41.5% (324/780). A written smoke-free policy was reported by 175 (54.0%) owners, and 31 (10%) reported a verbal smoke-free policy. Owners in large rural counties (57.4%) had more written smoke-free policies than owners in urban (52.2%) and frontier (53.5%) counties. Only 8.5% of properties had policies covering both buildings and grounds. Owners without policies were more than twice as likely to manage U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidized units and were three times as likely to be current smokers. Owners without a smoke-free policy anticipated that a policy would decrease maintenance costs but increase turnover and vacancy rates. Nearly one-half (47.9%) of owners with no smoke-free policy had previously considered implementing a policy. Owners self-reported beliefs about smoke-free policies identified perceived benefits such as decreased maintenance and costs, improved tenant safety and health, and conscientious tenants. Perceived drawbacks included increased outdoor maintenance, enforcement problems, concerns about long-term tenants who smoke, and freedom/rights of smokers.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a baseline assessment of smoke-free polices in MUH settings. Perceptions of owners without smoke-free policies focused on economic concerns that were inconsistent with reports from those owners with smoke-free policies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health