Purpose – This paper aims to examine the level of smoke‐free policies in general hospitals and the barriers faced in implementing restrictive policies banning smoking inside buildings and on surrounding grounds. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was developed to gather data on hospitals' current smoke‐free policies, including the challenges faced when implementing such a policy or the barriers to implementing one. The surveys were directed to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of Alabama general hospitals. Responses from 47 hospital CEOs, representing 46.5 percent of the total population were obtained. Findings – Over one‐quarter of respondents were found to have restrictive smoke‐free policies. Of this group, over one‐third experienced a hostile response from employees that smoked. Nearly 85 percent indicated that they made smoking cessation resources available to their employees. Of those that did not have a restrictive smoke‐free policy, fear of employee and patient backlash was cited as the most common deterrent against implementing such a policy. Practical implications – Studies show that restrictive smoke‐free workplace policies have altered employees' smoking prevalence and consumption. Given the recent reports on the dangers of secondhand smoke, hospitals should reduce the risk of exposure to secondhand smoke for employees, patients, and visitors. Furthermore, restrictive smoke‐free policies may help to increase hospitals' bottom line. Originality/value – A study examining restrictive smoke‐free policies in general hospitals and challenges faced in implementing such policies is absent from the literature. Identifying the barriers faced may help health care facilities to avoid or overcome these barriers when implementing such policies. The paper addresses the issues involved.
Health Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 23, 2010
Keywords: Hospitals; Tobacco; Regulation; Public health; United States of America
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