Support for outdoor hospital smoking ban

Aug. 16, 2012 at 10:40 PM
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TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A survey indicated employees and patients favored a ban on outdoor smoking at a Florida cancer center, but only 20 percent of smoker-employees supported a ban.

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa found 86 percent of non-smokers supported the outdoor smoking ban, as did 20 percent of the employees who were smokers. Fifty-seven percent of patients who were smokers favored the ban.

The researchers surveyed 607 employees -- 12 percent of whom were smokers -- using anonymous questionnaires a few months before the ban. They surveyed 511 employees -- 10 percent of them smokers -- three months after the ban was imposed.

In addition, 278 patients -- 23 percent of them smokers -- completed anonymous questionnaires before the outdoor smoking ban.

"Policies restricting indoor worksite tobacco use have become common over the last 10 years, but smoking bans have been expanding to include outdoor smoking, with hospitals leading the trend," lead author Marina Unrod, an applied research scientist in Moffitt's Tobacco Research and Intervention Program, said in a statement. "Research on the effects of smoking bans on employees is scarce."

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, found the data revealed overwhelming support for the outdoor smoking ban by non-smoking employees and patients.

"Although a majority of employee smokers opposed the ban, a significant proportion was interested in quitting, and 11 employees quit after the ban's implementation," Unrod said.

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