Trivia: When was smoking banned in all US hospitals

  1. I heard there used to be a time in America when people were given cigarettes by doctors. Didn't some cigarette ads used to say they were "recommended by doctors?" Obviously this was back in the 50's, I guess. So it musta been okay for you to smoke anywhere in a hospital back then in the 50's. I know the words "Surgeon General says smoking is bad for your health" came out in the 70's. But I guess smoking was permitted in hospital break rooms, I'm guessing. Then it must of went state by state, but I think there is some kinda of federal law that says you can't smoke in a hospital now. Or within a certain distance from the door.
    I think it was in the late 70's some kind of law came out that said no smoking in hospitals. Anyone know for sure; it's interesting to note perspective.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   KC CHICK
    When my mom gave birth to me in '73, she had to share a room postpartum. Her roommate smoked....right there in the bed next to her.

    Anne
  4. by   oramar
    I know they were still smoking in nursing station in early 80s, late 80s it became a no no.
    At first hospitals made special smoking areas on each floor, then smoking was limited to one special area in bldg like section of cafateria., then came complete ban in early 90s.
  5. by   Furball
    I vividly remember my pediatrician SMOKING during examinations and discussing things with my Mom. He always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. This was in the 70's.
  6. by   P_RN
    I remember RNs having ashtrays on the med cart and smoking while they passed meds...back in the late 70's.

    The county passed the no smoking thing in 82 (I think). The DON had the ciggie machines removed about 79 (I think).

    Is it a national law? I wasn't aware.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Alright guys, I know I'm older than dirt, but when I started out as a nursing assistant (they weren't certified then) in 1977, the nurses and everyone smoked in the hospital.

    I went into the Navy in 1978 and went overseas until 1990. When I came back, everything was nonsmoking - yeah!!
  8. by   live4today
    I don't know exactly when smoking was banned in the hospitals, but I think it was the late 80's or early 90's. Whenever it happened, it was the BEST thing that ever happened to helping create a healthier hospital environment in which to work as an employee, or recover as a patient. I chose to work in Seven Day Adventist Hospitals versus working where smoking was allowed. There was nothing worse than having to do patient care while having to inhale their sickness as well as their cigarette smoke.
    I'll never forget having to do a very lengthy wound care on a patient who had ashes all over her bed linen, an ashtray flooding over with cig butts, and a cig dangling from her blood thirsty lips (all dried up from having smoked so much). She hacked and coughed the entire time. That's the fastest wound care I ever did on a patient, then after that one time, I refused to do her wound care unless she agreed to not smoke during the procedure. She didn't like that idea, but she did it anyway, thank God.
  9. by   galenight
    Well, I have no idea when it was banned, but would someone please tell one of our docs?!?!

    I'm in a small rural hospital, with one doc in ER at a time. THe docs have a small room in back to sleep, relax etc (must be nice eh?). This one old doc who doesn't work much will smoke back there. I have confronted him myself, reported him to the safety officer, the ER med director, the ER nurse manager and the COO. He flatly denies it. How do I know he smokes back there? Because you can smell the smoke through the ventilation system!!! The smell only happens when he is on. He is the only doc that smokes, and it's always when he is back there.

    I fear (and yet kinda hope, so someone will listen to me) that the health department will catch him, or even better (worse?) JACHO, which is coming in the next 6 weeks or so.


    GRRRR!!!! Calgon... Take me away!
  10. by   thisnurse
    and being a smoker, i absolutely agree there is no place in the hospital for smoking. i think it was banned in the early 80's.
  11. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by mario_ragucci
    I heard there used to be a time in America when people were given cigarettes by doctors. Didn't some cigarette ads used to say they were "recommended by doctors?" Obviously this was back in the 50's, I guess. So it musta been okay for you to smoke anywhere in a hospital back then in the 50's. I know the words "Surgeon General says smoking is bad for your health" came out in the 70's. But I guess smoking was permitted in hospital break rooms, I'm guessing. Then it must of went state by state, but I think there is some kinda of federal law that says you can't smoke in a hospital now. Or within a certain distance from the door.
    I think it was in the late 70's some kind of law came out that said no smoking in hospitals. Anyone know for sure; it's interesting to note perspective.
    I was a smoker for years and remember smoking in the lounge in the hospital until 1991 or 92-then came the ban and I remember hearing that it was tied somehow to federal subsidies.Staff had to go outside-patient still could smoke in a few areas with a doctor's order in 1995(my mom was undergoing inpatient chemo-2 courses-and was permitted to smoke-she quit before her first surgery for her CA-but started again when she came home for the last time) No-one smokes in hospital in this area now(with permission-lol-except a very few cases)I work in LTC and they all must motor outside to indulge...I just can not imagine smoking at the med cart....
  12. by   NurseDennie
    ktwlpn - you said you can't imagine smoking at the med cart, and I can't either! That would be like having a coke on the med cart and sipping in between patients, or having a cookie or something like that.

    Putting aside the bothering other people, looking professional, not being a good role model and all that. . . . you'd be putting something IN YOUR MOUTH that has been in a patient care area. ICK

    Love

    Dennie
  13. by   mario_ragucci
    If you smoked at work as a health care worker, then what did you do when break time came? What if your supervisor didn't smoke, and saw you smoking at work. i can't imagine how times have really changed about smoking, and for the better. Even as a person who has an occasional cigarettte, it must have been annoying to come to work and not escape everybody else's smoke. I am old enough to remember smoking rooms at college and they were always smelly; not everyone smokes the same.
    The poor doctor mentioned by galesnight must have an awful addiction and feel he's "grandfathered" in.
    Remeber when you could smoke at airports? Again, it was taken advantage of because some folks would oversmoke, making it unpleasant for everyone.
    Thanks everyone for your $.02
  14. by   zumalong
    When I started as a nurse in 1986- everyone smoked in the hospital. I can remember being a nursing student and sitting in the break room getting report and everyone smoking. I never saw a nurse smoke at her med cart though--yech.

    In our hospital somewhere around 1989-1990 they set up smoking lounges on the patient care floors. The patients were still allowed to smoke even in semi pvt rooms (nice for the little COPD patient in the bed next to the smoker). These "lounges" were disgusting. The walls and the ceiling became so yellowed and whenever you walked by it reaked all down the hall.

    In about 1993 the smoking in our area moved outside-but still in view of pt care areas. Then it finally moved to the ramp garage several years later. The biggest problem is that (at least on my floor) if you were a smoker you always got to take a break. If you did not smoke you usually didn't. Plus there were several nurses that I worked with that would go into the BR down the hall from the unit and 'sneak' a cigarette.

    I sometimes look back on those early years of my career and am amazed we did not kill more patients with all that smoke.

    Seeing as that I am a severe asthmatic, I am very GLAD that smoking is not allowed in the hospitals anymore.

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Trivia: When was smoking banned in all US hospitals