Hospital workers to lead in smoking cessation

The Louisiana Hospital Association has launched a smoking cessation program for doctors, nurses and other hospital employees so that providers can follow the health advice they dispense, The Daily Advertiser reported.

Acknowledging that providers' own lifestyle habits carry more weight with patients, LHA is giving its member hospitals the necessary tools to help their employees go tobacco-free. The hospital group is also prohibiting tobacco use anywhere on hospital premises.

Offering smoking cessation programs is one way hospitals are looking beyond simple "no smoking" policies to create healthier campuses for their employees, patients and visitors. For example, Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Scotland has installed a voice alarm that goes off when anyone lights up outside.

Insurers charging higher premiums on smokers may be driving these efforts to extinguish tobacco use. However, smoking hospital workers with employer-based insurance can avoid the tobacco penalties if they join a smoking cessation program, which isn't available to individual policyholders, FierceHealthPayer reported last week.

Smoking cessation among hospital workers could set a strong example for the roughly one in five inpatients who continue to light up while hospitalized, according November research in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Even with hospital group's attempt to push healthcare professionals to lead the way in smoke-free lifestyles, a recent study suggests otherwise. December research indicated healthcare workers may be unhealthier than professionals in other sectors, and providers don't always practice what they preach.

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