Guest Support for Outdoor Smoke-Free Policies within a Homeless Shelter



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Roughly 70-80% of adults experiencing homelessness smoke cigarettes. Smoke-free living/workplace policies are an empirically-supported tobacco control intervention. However, homeless shelters administrators are reluctant to implement smoke-free policies due to fears of discouraging current and potential guests from seeking refuge there. The purpose of the current secondary data analysis is to obtain shelter guests' perspective on supporting outdoor smoke-free policies, and to characterize the supporters of these tobacco control policies by smoking status (never smoker, former smoker, and current smoker) among other characteristics. Participants comprised a convenience sample of adult guests of a homeless shelter in Texas (N = 394, 28.2% women; 10.2% former; and 75.9% current smokers). Participant sociodemographic, smoking status, behavioral health diagnoses, and support for two versions of an on-property outdoor courtyard smoke-free policy (one partial, one complete) were assessed. Data were collected in two waves in a repeated cross-sectional design. Logistic regressions, controlling for wave of data collection, age, sex, and any additional significant predictors from a semi-adjusted model, examined associations between participant characteristics and policy support. Results indicate 64% of participants supported a partial, and 32% a full smoking ban. Older participants, non-veterans, former smokers, and those without severe mental illness, had significantly greater odds of supporting a partial smoking ban. Relative to current smokers, never smokers and former smokers had significantly greater odds of supporting a complete smoking ban. The implementation of smoke-free living/workplace policies in homeless shelters may enjoy more support from guests (specifically, non-smokers) than anticipated by shelter administrators.