more U.S. hospitals are stamping out smoking on their campuses

Most U.S. Hospitals Going Smoke-Free

In 1992, with the Joint Commission first requiring accredited hospitals to prohibit smoking within the hospital, only 3 percent did, but 15 percent said they were pursuing a smoke-free campus policy.

By the end of this year, more than 50 percent of the approximately 5,000 U.S. hospitals will have a smoke-free campus, according to a Joint Commission study titled "The Adoption of Smoke-Free Hospital Campuses in the United States" that was published in the online issue of Tobacco Control, a British Medical Journal Group publication. The Joint Commission posted the news Aug. 20.

The study says more than 45 percent of U.S. hospitals had adopted a smoke-free campus policy by February 2008, up from about 3 percent in 1992 when the Joint Commission first introduced standards requiring accredited hospitals to prohibit smoking within the hospital. Another 15 percent of hospitals said then that they were actively pursuing a smoke-free campus policy.

The study says non-teaching and non-profit hospitals are more likely to have smoke-free campus policies, while private, non-profit hospitals were three times as likely as for-profits to have a smoke-free campus policy. "There was little relationship, however, between the adoption of smoke-free campus policies and the rate at which hospitals provided smoking cessation counseling to their patients," according to the Joint Commission.

"From a public health perspective, the benefits of stricter anti-smoking policies are well established," said Scott Williams, Psy.D., associate director, Department of Health Services Research, for the Joint Commission. "This study represents the first systematic evaluation of hospitals that have or have not adopted these policies."

More than 1,900 accredited hospitals responded to a survey assessing current smoking policies and future plans. The study was supported through grants from the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute and was conducted in partnership with researchers from the Henry Ford Health System's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

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