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