Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

CUNY Team Examines Smoking among Adults Residing In New York City Public Housing

Alumna, Ms. Alexis Feinberg, along with Ms. Priscilla Lopez, a current doctoral student and Dr. Katarryna Wyka, a professor all from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and colleagues examined prevalence and correlates of smoking among low-income adults residing in New York City public housing. The findings were published in the Journal of Urban Health.

[Photo: Ms. Alexis Feinberg]

This study was undertaken because current tobacco control approaches are not adequately meeting the health needs of lower-income adults and underserved racial/ethnic groups. In addition to prevalence, the research team described the described sociodemographic, health, and healthcare use characteristics of adult smokers in public housing.

[Photo: Ms. Priscilla Lopez]

The team analyzed self-reported data from a random sample of 1664 residents aged 35 and older in 10 New York City public housing developments in East/Central Harlem. Data were statistically weight by race/ethnicity, gender, and household role to be demographically representative of the selected public housing developments.

[Photo: Dr. Katarryna Wyka]

Smoking prevalence was 20.8 percent. The majority of residents were female (73.0 percent), half were Latino (50.3 percent), 35.7 percent had less than a high school education, and 43.4 percent were born outside of the USA. More than half of the residents (53.7 percent) reported a diagnosis of hypertension, while 27.6 percent reported diabetes, 28.7 percent reported current or past asthma, and 25.9 percent reported having depression.

The statistical models identified to be having Medicaid, not having a personal doctor, and using health clinics for routine care were positively associated with smoking. Smokers without a personal doctor were less likely to receive provider quit advice.

The research team concluded that while most smokers in these public housing developments had health insurance, a personal doctor, and received provider cessation advice in the last year (72.4 percent), persistently high smoking rates suggest that such cessation advice may be insufficient. Efforts to eliminate differences in tobacco use should consider place-based smoking cessation interventions that extend cessation support beyond clinical settings.