Smoking habits of health care professionals in a district general hospital (DGH) two years after smoking ban
Introduction A law was introduced in England and Wales on 1st July 2007 to ban smoking in enclosed public places. We conducted a survey 6 months after this ban to identify how it affected the smoking habits of health care workers in a DGH. It showed that 29% of ex-smokers had stopped following the ban and 49% of current smokers had cut down the number of cigarettes 1. We repeated the survey two years later to assess if the initial improvement has been maintained.
Rationale: To assess the continuous impact of national smoking ban on smoking habits of health care workers.
Methods: Similar to the previous survey, an anonymous questionnaire was distributed to members of staff at Macclesfield DGH. Data was collected over one month period. Parameters collected included: age, sex, occupation, smoking status and action following ban.
Results: Three hundred questionnaires were distributed, 195 completed giving a response rate of 65%. The mean (SD) age was 35(11) years, females 67%. The distribution of the respondents were as follows: nursing staff 44%, 23% doctors, 11% administrative staff, 8% professions allied to medicine, 14% supportive services staff. 54% of respondents were non-smokers, 22% ex-smokers and 24% current smokers. In the ex smokers group, 17/44 (39%) stopped smoking since the introduction of the ban. 71% of those who had stopped said that the smoking ban had influenced their decision. The most popular methods of smoking cessation were will power and nicotine replacement therapy. In the smokers group, 25/46 (54%) health care workers were smoking less following the ban.
Results were similar to those from 2007 and as in previous survey there was no statistical significance in age, gender, or occupation in those who stopped smoking. There was no difference in average cigarette consumption of both groups which was 13 cigarettes /day.
Conclusion: Our results show that smoking ban has influenced health care workers to change their smoking habit and that this change has been maintained over two year period. The smoking ban has the potential to leave lasting impact on smoking behaviour which will help in reducing the burden of smoking-related lung diseases.
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