Policy Research Center Rapid Response Projects

We need evidence about the dangers of tobacco to effectively drive policy change, so the Policy Center is conducting short-term research projects focused on gathering data to support tobacco-related policies. Check out these Policy Initiatives below.

Policy Initiative: Smokefree Outdoor Dining in the City of San Diego

Everyone deserves to eat out in a clean environment, but currently not all outdoor dining areas in San Diego are smokefree. The Policy Center wants to show policymakers why a citywide smokefree outdoor dining policy can protect restaurant workers and patrons.

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We will conduct four Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

Does the City of San Diego support a smokefree outdoor dining policy?

We will conduct a flash poll of San Diego residents.

How do stakeholders feel about a citywide smokefree outdoor dining policy?

We will interview restaurant owners and workers, hospitality employees, and City Council members.

Are restaurant workers and patrons exposed to second- and thirdhand smoke?

We will collect surface, air, and hand samples at restaurants in the City of San Diego.

Are there other successful smokefree outdoor dining policies in San Diego County?

We will review existing policies in other cities in San Diego County, and we will interview representatives from city governments, the County Board of Supervisors, and selected CTCP-funded programs.

Deliverables:

An infographic of the flash poll and interview results

A brief report summarizing the results of environmental sampling 

Presentations for community and advocacy organizations seeking a broad public smoking ban in San Diego

A locally-adapted model policy based on Public Health Law Center model language and the survey results

Policy Initiative: Eliminate Tobacco Product Waste in Tribal Outdoor Recreational Areas

Update

We have completed our first round of tobacco product waste collection before the camping season. During the season, the campground management will post No Smoking signs around the campground. After the season, we will conduct our second collection to see if No Smoking signs impacted the amount of tobacco product waste campers littered. Check out some photos from our first collection below.

The La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians wants to work with the Policy Center to implement an equitable, effective smokefree policy at the La Jolla Indian Campground to protect the environment and the health of campers and management.

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We will conduct four Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

Do campers support a smokefree policy?

We will offer campers an online survey and interview other campers at the campground.

Does the La Jolla Band of the Luiseño Indians support a smokefree policy?

We will offer an online survey to Tribal members.

What are the successes and challenges of smokefree policies in local campgrounds?

We will interview management of San Diego County campgrounds and the La Jolla Indian Campground. 

How does tobacco product waste impact the La Jolla Indian Campground?

We will work with the La Jolla Tribal Youth Program to organize two tobacco product waste collections and monitor the results in our smartphone app.

Deliverables:

Infographic presentations of the results from the surveys of campers and tribal members 

A brief report with photos and maps, summarizing the results of tobacco product waste cleanups

A presentation to the Tribal Council on thoughts about a smokefree campground

Policy Initiative: Protect Aquatic Environments from Urban Tobacco Product Waste

Tobacco product waste that litters the streets of San Diego County enters local waterways after storms, polluting them with plastic and chemicals. The Policy Center wants to consider effective ways to reduce this pollution.

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We will conduct two Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

How does a rain event impact tobacco pollution at the Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh Reserve?

We will map and count tobacco product waste on sidewalks and streets feeding into the Noyes Street stormwater drainage basin before rain. We will also collect water samples within 24 hours after the rain.

How does tobacco pollution impact the Marsh Reserve overtime?

We will assess, map, and clean up tobacco product waste weekly from the drainage basin over 4 weeks, and we will collect additional water samples.

Deliverables:

Maps showing tobacco product waste in the drainage basin

Narratives and graphics of the water sample results

Presentations to San Diego City Council Environmental Committee, Water Authority Boards, County Board of Supervisors, and Community Planning Groups

Policy Initiative: Disclose Thirdhand Smoke Pollution in Real Estate Transactions

Thirdhand smoke residue can stay in a home for years and cause physical symptoms to the residents. The residue is almost impossible to fully remove, and many people would not buy a home if they knew the previous owner smoked inside. However, the State of California does not require sellers to disclose the smoking history inside of a home. The Policy Center hopes to get California to require disclosing smoking history.

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We will conduct three Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

What are real estate agents’ thoughts on thirdhand smoke disclosure?

We will survey members of the California Association of Realtors and interview other real estate agents who are not members of CAR and are part of the California Department of Real Estate.

How do other stakeholders feel about disclosing thirdhand smoke?

We will conduct focus groups with home inspectors, lenders, and remediation contractors.

What makes a disclosure policy successful?

We will review all required documents used in California real estate transactions or consumer education about environmental hazards as well as any disclosure documents used in other jurisdictions.

Deliverables:

Infographic presentations of the survey and interview results 

A presentation for trade organizations, such as the CAR San Diego Chapter

Educational material for home sellers/buyers and other stakeholders

Model language created with the Public Health Law Center for required and voluntary disclosure forms

Policy Initiative: Disclose Thirdhand Smoke Pollution in Lease Agreements

People who rent can face similar issues with thirdhand smoke in their rental units. In fact, renters may struggle even more because rental units tend to have higher turnover of residents and more people around in nearby units. The more people that live somewhere, the more likely someone smoked on the property. Like for home agreements, the State of California does not require property managers to share with potential tenants if previous or neighboring tenants have smoked in rental units. The Center hopes to convince policymakers to make this disclosure mandatory.

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We will conduct three Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

What are stakeholders’ thoughts on second- and thirdhand smoke disclosure?

We will interview property managers, local trade groups, and City Council members.

What do residents think about second- and thirdhand smoke?

We will survey San Diego County residents and interview representatives for tenant/housing advocacy groups.

How are effective disclosure policies written?

We will review disclosure documents from other jurisdictions and interview people who have used it. We will work with the Public Health Law Center to develop model language for a disclosure policy. 

Deliverables:

Infographic presentations of the survey and interview results

Presentations for management and homeowners’ associations, tenant/housing advocacy groups, and trade organizations

Educational material for renters, property managers, and other stakeholders

Model language and implementation plans for including thirdhand smoke in Landlord’s Disclosure documents. 

Policy Initiative: Alternative to Suspension – Adopt Restorative Practices in Schools about Tobacco’s Toxic Environmental Legacy

Students who struggle with vaping or other tobacco products need support — not punishment — to successfully quit. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) typically suspenses students caught vaping, but the district also has a rarely-used alternative, restorative consequence to educate students on the harms of vaping. The Policy Center wants to help SDUSD expand this alternative.

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We will conduct 3 Rapid Response Projects to answer these questions:

How do students and parents feel about existing voluntary alternative-to-suspension programs? 

We will interview parents and students.

What do school students and faculty think about restorative practices?

We will survey students, parents, teachers, and counselors at schools with restorative practices, and we will interview school administrators. 

How do we develop an effective restorative practice?

We will host a half-day workshop for parents, students, school staff, and community members to discuss of the impacts of tobacco on the environment, restorative practices, community perspectives about the issues, and ideas for components/activities that should be included in community-wide restorative practices.

Deliverables:

Infographics and reports of the survey and interview results

Presentations for participating schools, school boards, and CTCP-funded programs

Guidelines for restorative practices focused on the impact of tobacco product waste in communities

Guidelines for other schools to replicate our restorative process workshop