My hospital’s new “smoke-free” policy

Image: Huntstock | Getty Images

My hospital recently implemented a smoke-free policy that is supposed to go into full effect this summer. This policy will make us a completely smoke free campus and no one is excluded. The policy includes  patients, visitors and staff. In preparation for this big change the hospital has started various programs to help staff cease and desist smoking.

I read once that respiratory therapists and firefighters have the highest smoking rates, although I don’t know if that still holds true. I do know, however, that I am personally repulsed by the smell of stagnant nicotine on someone…even when I am not a sick patient!

I have noticed a positive trend towards staff trying to quit smoking. Most have been pretty successful. Many have quit for various reasons such as getting pregnant, just knowing about the health hazards, chronic or acute illness and the like. I am curious how well the absolutely no smoking ever on campus is going to turn out.

This will, of course, eliminate the beloved “smoke break.” Although, I have taken a liking to enjoying my own version of a smoke break which I creatively call a “non-smoke break.” Why should smokers have all the fun? But if we don’t have smoking anymore, maybe we can have other types of unofficial breaks, like “latte breaks” (coffee is so vintage), or “Peanut M&M breaks” or “Turtle Racing breaks.” Think of how much more fun we could have at work, how much healthier we would be and how much more we would enjoy coming back to work! Just don’t eat too many M&Ms! That might create a whole other kind of addiction!!!

, ,

Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

6 Responses to My hospital’s new “smoke-free” policy

  1. Michelle

    I work for a hospital network that has already taken the “smoke-free” campus policy.
    As a smoker, I’m not happy. What I do on my break is my business, no one else’s.
    Furthermore, there are a lot of cigarette butts on this so-called “smoke-free” campus; so, I’m apparently not the only one.
    Smokers are not going to be discouraged this easily. There are plenty of hiding places on campus to smoke.
    I know this may sound childish and unprofesional, but I still think it’s the smoker’s choice.

  2. Laura Sherby

    I work at a small hospital in South East Ohio. Our campus has been smoke free for about 2 years. At the beginning we had the usual sneakers and found cigarette butts all over the place, but over time this has gotten better. The guests and some of the patients have found that if they walk to the street and smoke on the sidewalk, no one bothers them. The hospital also supplied Nicotine gum for anyone who would ask. Since I am not a smoker I thought the policy would not effect me- but I was wrong. I no longer have to deal with other staff taking frequent breaks and the smell of smoke on their clothes, Also have noticed not as many URI’s this year, so less call offs. Plus the patients and families don’t constantly ask to go to the patio to smoke, When I want to use the patio I don’t have to smell someone smoking and no longer have to look at the trash(cigarette butts) on the ground. As to the health of my smoking coworkers- We now take walking breaks and spend more time socializing each other!

  3. I smoke and I think it is good. I myself am trying to quit.
    But, have you all thought about the “big picture”?

    Our hospitals, clinics and offices have been smoke free for 1 year now.
    I agree with Michelle, it should be everyones own choice.
    The part that really gets me is that they have also banned smoking in your own personal vehicle, if it is on their property!

    First they ban smoking, what’s next?? And for those of you that think I am over exagerating….. There is/was the “sin tax”, first it was cigarettes and alcohol, now they are talking about taxing “junk food”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat that stuff.
    But how many of you are going to go on strike when they take away your coffee, french fries, candy bars and other unhealthy things???

    You did not stand with us to reserve our own personal rights to smoke, so I am NOT going to care when they take away your Chocolate!!!

  4. G.Guidas

    I have to agree with C. Comstock. Smoking is just the first of many prhibitions to come. The one hospital in town has gone the extreme measure of non-smoking as to ban smoking in your own vehicle on parking areas that they lease from the county fair grounds. I am also sick and tired of hearing the whine about the smokers being the only ones that ever get breaks. I have yet to see any policy prohibiting nonsmokers from taking a latte or m & m break, or whatever. Overweight staff lookout, you are next on the target!

  5. L. Holtz

    I worked at a hospital that implemented a similar no-smoking policy on campus, including non smoking in your personal vehicle if it is parked on hospital property. If you return from a break and the nursing supervisor smelled smoke on you or your clothes you could be written up and sent home. It may seem crazy to some, but I believe sick patients should not have to deal with offensive odors from their caregivers, including smoke, too much perfume/ cologne or BO. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of sensitivities. This is health care, for goodness sake! If you want to smoke and smell like a ash tray find a job where you work from home and don’t have to offend the rest of us with your nasty odor!

  6. Russell Todd

    big brother is no only watching you he I controling you more and more