The worldwide Health Promoting Hospital and Health Services (HPH) network was initiated by the World Health Organizations in the late 1980s. The goal of the network is to change the focus of health services from curing patients to also embrace disease prevention and health promotion. In Sweden the network started in 1996, and involves mainly hospitals and primary care. The network members collaborate in task forces, one of which is working on the tobacco issue. There is limited evidence on the value of working within an HPH organization. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of members of the Swedish HPH network tobacco task force. Focus group interviews with task force members were analyzed using implementation theory. Three themes, overall experiences of working with tobacco issues, experiences of working with "free from tobacco in connection with surgery", and experiences of work in the HPH tobacco task force, emerged from the interviews. The results show that working with the tobacco issue in the context of health-promoting hospitals and health services met with difficulties involving the following important factors: evidence, context, facilitation and adopter characteristics. Leadership, one contextual factor, at national and local level, seems to be crucial if the work is going to succeed. The tobacco task force of the HPH network is an important facilitator supporting the task.
Keywords: anti-tobacco policy making; health-promoting hospitals; public health; setting-based health promotion; smoking cessation; tobacco.