Community partnerships

Build success by partnering with local agencies and organizations. Community partners can advise during planning, educate residents during implementation, and help support cessation.


Public housing authority (PHA) executive directors reported receiving support from:
  • Public health departments     49%
  • Community health centers     26%
  • Community service agencies 23%
  • Voluntary organizations         22%
  • Local hospitals                          13%
  • Resident advocacy groups      13%
    • Source: Early Adopter Study

Planning for success

Identify local resources and engage partners early in the planning process. Local partners can help:

  • Provide easy-to-understand written materials or in-person presentations during organized meetings to help communicate the purpose of the smoke-free policy
  • Provide legal guidance and technical assistance during policy development
  • Offer cessation resources for residents who may be motivated to quit smoking

“I really loved our partners. They were there to answer any questions, inform, and guide. They provided resources to our residents. I can’t stress enough to not try to do it alone. Get people to help you do it. And they may have giveaways–little goodies that we housing authorities don’t get, so rely on them and get them involved.”

  • Property manager

More about Policy planning.

Benefits of partnerships

Local partners within your community are potential resources to support policy adoption and implementation efforts. For example, community partners may offer:

  • Easy-to-understand resources about the effects of secondhand smoke, in appropriate languages
  • Health educators to provide presentations at resident meetings about secondhand smoke and the benefits of smoke-free policies
  • Data to provide evidence on the effects of smoke-free policies on the community’s health
  • Funds and giveaways for resident meetings
  • Direct cessation support for residents interested in quitting
  • Technical support to address specific challenges that may arise during policy implementation

Potential partners

Potential partners will differ by community, but here are some examples of types of partners and the kinds of support they may offer during implementation.

“Talk to legal aid providers, like the city’s Tenants’ Counsel and the regional or state legal aid organizations that represent residents. We met with them prior to the adoption, showed them the policies that we were thinking of implementing, and asked them for advice. They gave us their feedback. We knew that they were not going to fight it, by their feedback.”

  • Associate executive director


Community health centers, hospitals, health or public health departments, and community service agencies:

  • Health educators to train residents on the health benefits of smoke-free housing
  • Smoking cessation support or referral services
  • Smoke-free signage or other smoke-free print materials

Health care professionals:

  • Individual smoking cessation support
  • Strategies to help smokers who are not ready to quit adhere to the policy


Fire department:

  • Training on fire risk reduction

Local courts and legal advocacy groups:

  • Guidance on legal processes to enforce a smoke-free policy
  • Assistance for residents who are struggling with adherence or frustrated by enforcement


Other smoke-free PHAs:

  • Sample smoke-free policy language
  • Successful strategies for policy adherence
  • Support for challenging aspects of implementation and enforcement

HUD regional offices:

  • Guidance on local ordinances or laws that affect the smoke-free policy

Non-profit organizations

Local chapters of American Lung Association, American Cancer Society:

  • Information about the health effects of tobacco
  • Reports on tobacco control efforts in your community
  • Smoking cessation resources

National Advocacy Groups: Americans for Nonsmokers Rights

  • Education for staff and residents on smoke-free housing
  • Graphics and print information on the health effects of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke


Download Community partnerships as a PDF

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association

CDC Office on Smoking and Health

HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing

HUD Regional Offices

National Association of Community Health Centers

Smoke-free Housing Options (Americans for Non‐smokers Rights Foundation)