Impact of a smoke-free hospital campus policy on employee and consumer behavior.

Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974)

PubMedID: 18051667

Wheeler JG, Pulley L, Felix HC, Bursac Z, Siddiqui NJ, Stewart MK, Mays GP, Gauss CH. Impact of a smoke-free hospital campus policy on employee and consumer behavior. Public Health Rep. 2007;122(6):744-52.
Although smoke-free hospital campuses can provide a strong health message and protect patients, they are few in number due to employee retention and public relations concerns. We evaluated the effects of implementing a clean air policy on employee attitudes, recruitment, and retention; hospital utilization; and consumer satisfaction in 2003 through 2005.

We conducted research at a university hospital campus with supplemental data from an affiliated hospital campus. Our evaluation included (1) measurement of employee attitudes during the year before and year after policy implementation using a cross-sectional, anonymous survey; (2) focus group discussions held with supervisors and security personnel; and (3) key informant interviews conducted with administrators. Secondary analysis included review of employment records and exit interviews, and monitoring of hospital utilization and patient satisfaction data.

Employee attitudes toward the policy were supportive (83.3%) at both institutions and increased significantly (89.8%) at post-test at the university hospital campus. Qualitatively, administrator and supervisor attitudes were similarly favorable. There was no evidence on either campus of an increase in employee separations or a decrease in new hiring after the policy was implemented. On neither campus was there a change in bed occupancy or mean daily census. Standard measures of consumer satisfaction were also unchanged at both sites.

A campus-wide smoke-free policy had no detrimental effect on measures of employee or consumer attitudes or behaviors.