Smoke-Free Hospitals Lead to Smoke-Free Employees

Using the "natural experiment" of hospitals undergoing the first U.S. industry-wide ban on smoking, from 1993 to 1996 researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine analyzed the extent to which hospitals nationwide met the new smoke-free requirements.

Researchers also examined the content of hospital smoking policies and implementation issues and procedures and assessed the effect of the hospital-based smoking ban on the smoking behavior of employees.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program.

Key Findings

  • The study found widespread compliance by hospitals with the smoking ban standards.
  • Workers in hospitals where smoking was prohibited were more successful at quitting than smokers whose workplaces permitted smoking.

    Peer pressure, socialization, and being forced to stay away from cigarettes for the length of entire workdays were credited with helping hospital workers to quit.