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Hospital Campuses Going Smoke-Free: What's the Trend?

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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Joint Commission study examines policy adoption nationwide

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study from The Joint Commission projects that a majority of U.S. hospitals will have a smoke-free campus by the end of 2009. The study, "The Adoption of Smoke-Free Hospital Campuses in the United States," appears in the latest online issue of Tobacco Control, a British Medical Journal Group publication.

By February 2008, more than 45 percent of U.S. hospitals had adopted a smoke-free campus policy -- up from approximately three percent in 1992 when The Joint Commission first introduced standards requiring accredited hospitals to prohibit smoking within the hospital; an additional 15 percent of hospitals reported actively pursuing the adoption of a smoke-free campus policy. The study reveals that non-teaching and non-profit hospitals were more likely to have smoke-free campus policies, and 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.

"From a public health perspective, the benefits of stricter anti-smoking policies are well established," says Scott Williams, Psy.D., associate director, Department of Health Services Research, The Joint Commission. "This study represents the first systematic evaluation of hospitals that have or have not adopted these policies." To download a podcast about the study, visit http://www.jointcommission.org/NewsRoom/Podcasts/smokefree_podcast.htm.

The study was conducted to determine the national prevalence of smoke-free hospital campus policies and the relationship between these policies and performance on nationally-standardized measures for smoking cessation counseling in U.S. hospitals. More than 1,900 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals responded to a survey assessing current smoking policies and future plans. Smoking cessation counseling rates were assessed through nationally-standardized measures. To date, little has been known about smoke-free policy prevalence and its impact. To view the study's abstract, visit http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/onlinefirst.dtl.

The research was supported through grants from the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute. It was conducted in partnership with researchers from the Henry Ford Health System's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America, accounting for more than 440,000 deaths each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing fatty buildups in arteries, several types of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including nearly 9,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,200 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. In addition, The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 600 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

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SOURCE The Joint Commission
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