August 20, 2009

Majority of U.S. hospitals go smoke free

The Joint Commission, which evaluates and accredits hospitals, says a majority of U.S. hospitals will have a smoke-free campus by the end of the year.

In February 2008, more than 45 percent of U.S. hospitals had adopted a smoke-free campus policy -- up from approximately 3 percent in 1992 when The Joint Commission first introduced standards requiring accredited hospitals to prohibit smoking within the hospital.

The study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, says non-teaching and non-profit hospitals were more likely to have smoke-free campus policies. Private, non-profit hospitals were three times as likely as for-profits to have a smoke-free campus policy.

However, there was little relationship between the adoption of smoke-free campus policies and the rate at which hospitals provided smoking cessation counseling to their patients.

From a public health perspective, the benefits of stricter anti-smoking policies are well established, Scott Williams of The Joint Commission said.