During our intensive research in Practice Based Studio, a class bringing together teams of MICA graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines to address complex social problems, we were faced with localized statistics revealing the impact of smoke exposure in Baltimore:

  • 50 percent of Baltimore middle schoolers live with a smoker
  • In 2013, 14 of 17 sleep-related deaths reported secondhand smoke exposure
  • Only 14 percent of Baltimore HeadStart families with a smoker in the households report having a smoking ban.
  • Significant disparities exist, such as: 37.12% of those with income $15,000-$24,999 reported smoking compared to a City average of 21.2% and 25.18% of Black people reported smoking cigarettes vs 18.76% for white people.


Utilizing a human-centered, collaborative, and design driven approach, our team met with health professionals in the field to understand the problem, interviewed families in community spaces to gain new insights, and facilitated human-centered design workshops to generate ideas and prototypes around space, activities, and artifacts.


One of our key discoveries is that knowledge transfer is not enough and education around smoking should inspire actions and bridge gaps between smokers and nonsmokers. This led to our core design principles, values that guide every engagement and design decision:

  • Honor stories and experiences
  • Acknowledge the reality of addiction
  • Make knowledge actionable
  • Engage the whole person
  • Ease the pathway



Talking about the dangers of smoking is not enough when our City’s residents are exposed to those same dangers at home every day but with HealthiAir’s theory of change, if we ease the pathway to creating smoke-free comfort zones and engage people where they are on their journey, every home in Baltimore will breathe happy and healthy.

Practice Based Studio Team: Smile Indias, Naeeme Mohammadi, Christy Tang, Mihoshi Fukushima, Jenny Jung, Hayley Frazier.
Current Project Team: Smile Indias, Becky Slogeris, and BCHD Tobacco Free Baltimore staff members.