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January 6, 1989

Toward Smoke-Free VA Hospitals

JAMA. 1989;261(1):44. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420010053022

To the Editor. —  The letter by Drs Joseph and Korn1 in the Sept 16 issue of JAMA discusses the attitudes of veterans toward smoking restrictions in a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital and the feasibility of smoke-free VA hospitals. We were encouraged and delighted to hear that the Minneapolis VA Medical Center has become a totally smoke-free hospital. All other VA hospitals, on the other hand, still allow smoking by patients and staff in a number of areas. The number of places where smoking is allowed in the Denver VA Medical Center has been reduced significantly in the last few years, but further efforts to restrict smoking have met with considerable resistance.To determine the extent of this resistance among patients, we gave a questionnaire (June through August 1987) to outpatients awaiting primary care clinic appointments. Completed questionnaires were received from 84% (468/553); 40% were current smokers, 45% were