Public Health partners can be key in moving ahead in implementing no-smoking policies. Andy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Nampa Housing Authority in Idaho, the first 100% smoke-free housing authority in the entire Northwest U.S. said, “The most helpful thing we did was to partner with our local health district.”
Dianne Quast, Director Real Estate Operations for the Housing Authority of Portland, says the steps the public health partners (the American Lung Association of Oregon and Multnomah County Health Department) took on made a huge difference to their process, documenting tenant demand and helping staff to be comfortable with the policy.
The following is a list of potential steps that your local health department colleagues could help with. Their participation will depend, of course on current workplans, priorities and budgets. Do Ask!
1. Conducting resident surveys (preparing mailing, tabulating responses, summarizing results in written report).
2. Participating in resident meetings so that people can air their feelings about the policy. (Having an outside partner can help take the heat off the onsite or portfolio manager).
3. Helping prepare presentation for the Board.
4. Training of onsite property managers (see Making No-Smoking Policies Work). A dedicated session can help managers understand the policy, why it was adopted, strategize about problems and solutions to implementation and learn ways they can think about and talk to smokers.
Contact your local health department or tobacco prevention program. Find your contact in Oregon.