When smokers are encouraged to quit, and hospitals are literally adding a new “Cigarette Policing Department” to their arsenal in an effort to encourage employees and patients to stop smoking, how can patient safety be at risk one might wonder? When hospitals enforce anti-smoking policies and provide ‘smoking booths’ far away from the buildings, they fail to consider the tobacco withdrawal symptoms of hospitalized smokers.
A Canadian study by researchers from the University of Manitoba, University of Alberta,and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority was undertaken to look at the effects of anti-smoking and smoke-free policies on patients and staff in two large Canadian hospitals. They weren’t surprised to find that patients and staff including security staff, ambulance drivers, and clinicians smoked on hospital premises. When patients left hospital wards to smoke, their whereabouts were sometimes unknown to staff. Patients with electronic pumps and IV lines are at risk when equipment malfunctions, and patients accidentally getting locked out of hospital entrances on freezing winter nights are only two examples of patient safety hazards. Additional information: