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New project will evaluate smoke-free housing in the city of Los Angeles

Health impact of secondhand smoke on vulnerable Angelenos is focus

June 28, 2018

    The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has been awarded a two-year project to evaluate smoke-free multi-unit housing throughout the city of Los Angeles.

    The project, awarded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, will include two city-wide surveys: The first will assess tenants’ exposure to secondhand tobacco and whether they support policies that restrict smoking in apartments and other multi-unit residences; the second will ask landlords their views on smoke-free housing and how they view benefits and barriers for implementing and enforcing smoke-free policy on their properties.

    “Secondhand smoke is an important public health concern, and we need data to understand residents’ and landlords’ experiences with it and their views on smoke-free housing,” said Peggy Toy, Center Health DATA director, who will direct the project. “We’ll also look closely at the degree to which the most vulnerable ― children, people with chronic health conditions, and the elderly ― are exposed to secondhand smoke and the level of support for protecting Los Angeles renters from its harmful effects.”

    As part of the project, the team will also analyze California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data from 2013-16 to find disparities in smoking and smoking-related chronic conditions by socio-economic status and living conditions (e.g., living in multi-unit apartment housing). In collaboration with the Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program (TCPP), the project team will organize a conference on survey findings and best practices for smoke-free housing for community, housing, and tenant and landlord stakeholders.

    “Public Health’s partnership with UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research will help advance community-driven interventions to make home environments safe places where families grow and thrive,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “We believe that fostering relationships with neighbors and community partners will encourage creative solutions that reduce exposure to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.”

    The new project builds on the Center’s recent four-year effort, UCLA-Smokefree Air for Everyone (UCLA-SAFE), which was funded by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UCLA-SAFE aided community efforts to reduce smoking and encourage smoke-free policies in 30 high-density, multi-unit apartment complexes in specific communities in Los Angeles where the majority of residents are African-American and Latino.

    The project team, includes Toy, Center Director of Research Nadereh Pourat, Center Senior Research Scientist Ying-Ying Meng, and Project Coordinator Marlene Gomez. 

    The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. The Center improves the public’s health through high-quality, objective, and evidence-based research and data that informs effective policymaking. The Center is the home of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and is part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. For more information, visit