[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 24, 1992

No-Smoking Policies in Hospitals

Author Affiliations

New York University School of Medicine New York

JAMA. 1992;267(24):3286-3287. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480240048027

To the Editor.  —I found the article by Joseph and O'Neil1 to be an excellent account of how well hospital smoke-free policies may be implemented. However, I found the ethical implications of the article to be disturbing.Because hospitals' no-smoking policies are medically appropriate does not imply that they are ethically justifiable. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) certainly may prevent smoking patients from subjecting nonsmoking patients to the risks as well as the nuisance of passive smoke. However, it is much more difficult to justify preventing patients from smoking to promote their own health. Health promotion to attain the goal of personal longevity is, as I believe some authors have correctly argued,2,3 the popular, personal ethic of today that is largely replacing older ethics, such as living life for the betterment of society or the attainment of an afterlife. To act contrary to the ethic of life