Smoke-Free Public Housing: Helping Smokers Quit

Smoke-free Public Housing: Helping Smokers Quit

About the Initiative

The American Cancer Society Cancer Control Intervention group, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF, and the North American Quitline Consortium are collaborating with PHAs, state quitlines, and community health centers (CHCs) to help residents in public housing quit smoking for good. This collaboration, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will start as a pilot program in 6 communities to help all interested residents get support to quit smoking.

A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule will require all public housing agencies (PHAs) to implement a smoke-free policy by July 30, 2018. This rule prohibits the use of tobacco products in all residential units, indoor common areas, administrative offices, and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of public housing and administrative buildings (e-cigarette use is subject to each PHA’s discretion). Enforcement of this rule is also left to each PHA’s discretion, but residents could ultimately be evicted if they don’t comply with this rule. Since approximately 34% of adults living in public housing smoke cigarettes, the rule provides an important public health opportunity to increase access to tobacco cessation services.

This initiative will leverage the HUD rule and strengthen partnerships among residents, clinicians, PHAs, and other related organizations, including behavioral health and legal aid groups, to increase health equity. This initiative will help improve access to cessation support and opportunities to contribute to the overall health, well-being, and equity of PHA communities.  For more information, contact Becky Slemons or Jessica Safier.

ECHO hub and spokes

Smoke-free Public Housing ECHO Hub and Spoke Locations

This pilot program is taking place in one community each in California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. To support the goals of this project, we have created a Smoke-free Public Housing Project ECHO session that meets every 2 weeks from January 2019-January 2020. Each community CHC, PHA, and state quitline also work collaboratively at the local level.

Diverse and colorful silhouettes of people

What We’ve Learned

We believe the public health, health care, and housing sectors must provide well-coordinated and comprehensive cessation services to increase successful quit attempts and maximize the public health benefits of the smoke-free rule. More information is forthcoming.

SFPH: HSQ Best Practices/FAQs for All Sectors (will be updated regularly)​

Tobacco Cessation in Public Housing ECHO: Early Experiences metaECHO poster

Tobacco Cessation in Public Housing ECHO: Early Experiences one-pager


View instructive and case presentations for each ECHO session as expert faculty and project participants create and share best practices to help patients and make cessation-related systems more efficient.

Hand with clothe wiping away dirt and revealing clouds behind it


Technical Assistance

Additional technical assistance through accredited webinars, online resources, and a toll-free technical assistance line (1-877- 509-3786) will be available to the public at no cost. Sign up to keep informed at 100 Pioneers Listserv.

For questions or comments please email [email protected].