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January 1991

Smoke and Mirrors: The Reaction of Most Hospitals to Smoking Policies

Author Affiliations

Seattle. Wash

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(1):33-34. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870130039012

The most recent study of hospital smoking policies, a 1988 study by the American College of Health Care Executives, Chicago, Ill, found that only 8% of US hospitals had banned smoking completely.1 Note that during the same year a study by the Administrative Management Society, Trevose, Pa, found that 25% of US corporations had banned smoking.2 Although future studies will undoubtedly document an increasing trend toward smoking bans within hospitals,3,4 the question remains: Why do medical facilities continue to lag behind private industry in smoking bans? More importantly, what can be done to clear the air inside US medical facilities?

Until 1986, many hospital administrators reasonably argued that while the dangers of smoking to the active smoker were well documented, the dangers of sidestream smoke to nonsmokers were not. Therefore, there was no scientific rationale to implement smoking policies to protect nonsmokers. But in 1986, the US

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