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Aug 21 ’09 Modern Healthcare: Most hospitals likely smoke-free by year-end: study

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: August 20, 2009 – 1:00 pm EDT

By year-end, it is likely that the majority of U.S. hospitals will have smoke-free campuses, says a new study from the Joint Commission’s Health Services Research Department. In a survey of nearly 2,000 hospitals, about 45% reported having an existing smoke-free campus policy as of February 2008, which represents about a 3% increase since 1992, when the Joint Commission required all of its accredited hospitals to ban indoor smoking. Some 39% reported having no designated smoking areas, making those campuses totally smoke-free. Meanwhile, 15% of respondents said they are pursuing adoption of such a rule.

For the survey, 4,494 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals were invited to complete a Web-based questionnaire that assessed current smoking policies and future plans, and 1,916 hospitals, or about 43%, responded.

In its report, the Joint Commission cited a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke cost the economy about $96.8 billion in productivity losses annually, while direct and indirect costs related to smoking-related illnesses total about $193 billion each year. The study will appear online in the British journal Tobacco Control.

Grants from the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute supported the study, which was conducted together with the Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

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