The percentage of adults in the United States reporting current marijuana use has more than doubled, from 4 to 9% between 2002 and 2018, suggesting that exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke (SHMS) has probably increased. Few studies have characterized the extent to which residents experience SHMS, particularly those living in multi-unit housing. It remains unknown how recently-implemented smoke-free housing policies (SFH) targeting cigarette smoke in public housing authorities (PHAs) will affect SHMS exposure. We sought to characterize prevalence of self-reported SHMS exposure among residents living in two different subsidized housing settings prior to SFH policy implementation in PHAs: New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings and private sector buildings where most residents receive Section 8 subsidy vouchers (herein ‘Section 8’ buildings). Residents were recruited from 21 purposefully-selected buildings: 10 NYCHA and 11 Section 8 buildings (> 15 floors). Survey responses were collected during April-July 2018 for NYCHA residents (n = 559) and August-November 2018 for Section 8 residents (n = 471). Of 4628 eligible residents, 1030 participated (response rates, 35% NYCHA, 32% Section 8). Overall, two-thirds of residents reported smelling marijuana smoke (67%) in their home over the past year, higher than reports of smelling cigarette smoke (60%). Smoking status and smelling SHS were both strong predictors of smelling SHMS (p < 0.05). Nearly two thirds of residents perceived smoking marijuana and smelling SHMS as harmful to health. Our findings suggest that, immediately prior to SFH rule implementation in PHAs, SHMS was pervasive in low-income multi-unit housing, suggesting SFH policies should expand to cover marijuana use.
Self-reported secondhand marijuana smoke (SHMS) exposure in two New York City (NYC) subsidized housing settings, 2018: NYC Housing Authority and lower-income private sector buildings
Journal of Community Health, 45 (3), 635-639. doi: 10.1007/s10900-019-00783-x. PMCID: PMC7192787.