% of Nurses that smoke

  1. I have been working in the medical field for a few years and I was very surprised to find the number of nurses and other healthcare workers that smoke. I found this statistic on a few different websites that I found interesting.

    "the number of registered nurses who smoked dropped from 11 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2011, the study found. That's an overall decrease of 36 percent, and nearly three times higher than the 13 percent decline in smoking among the general population during the same period."
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    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 62; Likes: 11


  3. by   hope3456
    I have heard that some hospitals will not even hire smokers. If I ever went back to hospital work, I would only work in one that had such a policy.
  4. by   Hpy_Vly_RNBSN
    It's horribly hypocritical to smoke as a nurse and yes many hospitals are making it against policy to smoke on grounds or even hire smokers. I understand that everyone has their vice but after working with a cardio thoracic surgeon watching people dying from smoking related diseases was enough to keep me far far away from smoking.
  5. by   Esme12
    Quote from Hpy_Vly_RNBSN
    It's horribly hypocritical to smoke as a nurse and yes many hospitals are making it against policy to smoke on grounds or even hire smokers. I understand that everyone has their vice but after working with a cardio thoracic surgeon watching people dying from smoking related diseases was enough to keep me far far away from smoking.
    I worked years ago with a cardiovascular surgeon who would steal my smokes from my locker to closet smoke. There are a ton of closet smokers. I think it's stress or the stimulant effect.
  6. by   cardiacfreak
    Well, I am one of the 7% and yes I do know what smoking can do to your body. Why do I smoke? Addiction I guess, I have tried to stop I have used gum, patches, cold-turkey, etc. I guess it is a vice I have, and I know that may sound lame but it is what it is. Other than smoking I don't have any other "dirty little secrets". I don't overeat, I don't drink, I don't do drugs (prescription or otherwise). There are lots of things that nurses do to relieve stress. My cholesterol is great, my blood pressure is low, and my weight is normal. I am not trying to get any backlash from this statement, but what about the nurses who are overweight, are on blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds plus something for anxiety, depression, etc...?

    Maybe I am a hypocrite but so are lots of others.
  7. by   BrandonLPN
    No one is perfect. Most of us have some habit or another that isn't healthy. A nurse who smokes isn't any more a hypocrite than the nurse with an eating disorder or an out of shape doctor.

    I have yet to see the hospital unit staffed entirely by perfect nurses in perfect physical shape. (well maybe on TV)

    With that said, I'm curious if the higher rate of non-smokers among RNs is due to education or due to work place policies?
  8. by   LTCNS
    If you consider a nurse who "smokes" an electronic cigarette, then I am a smoker. I quit real cigarettes in November of 2010 and have been using an e-cig since.

    For me, smoking was/is a way to relieve stress and calm my frayed nerves. We all have different ways of dealing with stress. If I didn't get my daily nicotine fix, I might throw a certain co-worker down the stairs Just kidding...sorta'...
  9. by   Charlie Don't Surf
    I smoked for 13 years, then quit cold-turkey 4 years ago. I used it to cope with stress, calm my nerves, and gear up before something...I told myself.
    Truth is I had done the same action for so long, all I really did via smoking was avoid dealing with my stressors by stepping outside. Coworkers did something stupid? I'd go have a smoke, which did nothing but avoid dealing with the issue then and there, same during disagreements with my wife etc.

    Now after chemistry, biology, microbiology and anatomy and physiology classes...I see what really happens on your/my total system, and I'm appalled. I also have a severe lack of confidence in any science professor that is a smoker, knowing full-well what the process does on all levels to your body. And I'm not referring to "read the SG warning" knowledge either.

    Sorry, ex-smoker rant over
  10. by   Nascar nurse
    I'm a hospice nurse. I smoke. I feel guilty about this (sometimes). I've tried to quit several times & haven't made it past the 3 week mark yet. As a hospice nurse, I clearly see the end result of smoking. But, I've also learned, EVERYONE dies of something.
  11. by   xxdumaxx
    I'm getting ready to enter nursing school and. . And ever since I started my lower division courses my life started to change. . I had been a smoker since high school 10 years of smoking today I can say I haven't touch a cig in exactly 128 days nor can I stand the smell of it!!!! Also I can't remember the last time I went to a fast food restaurant . . . And I know those things alone has made a big difference in how I feel! I changed my life style because I strongly believing in practicing what you preach!
  12. by   CrazyGoonRN
    My hospital is smoke free. At my hospital if you voluntarily get tested for nicotine and your results are negative and you sign something saying you don't smoke you will get a $11/month discount on health insurance. It's great!
    Last edit by CrazyGoonRN on Mar 11, '14
  13. by   brandy1017
    I think most smokers are addicted and it is used as a way to relieve stress. Also the smokers are the ones that usually get their breaks and I think that is how smoking is reinforced in nursing! However hospitals are banning smoking on their premises and charging insurance penalty fees for smokers and I think that is why some nurses have quit smoking. Also doesn't the Cleveland Clinic refuse to even hire smokers now. Seems that is the latest trend more micromanagement into a person's personal life! I don't smoke but I think it is wrong to refuse to hire smokers.
  14. by   AliceTrout
    I was a closet smoker all through nursing school and it was a source of a lot of stress. I refused to smoke in scrubs before or after my rotations, just because I was so concerned the smell would cling to the material and offend my patients. I knew that smoking was a choice I made for myself, but I felt/feel very strongly that it is inappropriate for a nurse to smell of smoke while treating patients with respiratory problems and/or who cannot smoke themselves during their hospitalization. How could a patient or their family take smoking cessation education seriously from me if I smelled like smoke? For me it was an ethical line in the sand I would not cross.

    In addition to that, my classmates and faculty had a very nasty attitude toward the 'known' smokers that absolutely terrified me they would discover my secret. Smoker or non-smoker, nobody should be as judgmental and cruel about a personal decision as they were toward smokers, period. It accomplishes nothing positive - but I digress.

    The day after graduation I quit smoking. I recognized that my life was in a place of new beginnings and I wanted to start on the right foot. Washing the shame/angst/anxiety/effort/expense/time of my closet smoking has been a tremendous relief and after that first few days, I haven't looked back!! I thought I would have a hard time finding a replacement for the stress management I thought smoking gave me - but now I realize that smoking caused at least as much stress as it relieved!!

    I fully understand quitting isn't as easy for everyone, but you never know what you are capable of until you try!