Attitudes to smoking and smoking habits among hospital staff.
BACKGROUND: Health professionals should take an active role against smoking, so it is relevant to have information on their smoking habits and their attitudes towards smoking, especially with a view to identifying and offering help to those smokers who wish to stop. Staff in Llandough Hospital were surveyed to determine their smoking habits and attitudes, and the findings were compared with those of a similar survey at Llandough in 1987. METHODS: In October 1991 a questionnaire was sent to each member of staff employed half time or more requesting data on age, sex, department, smoking habit, attitudes to smoking in various areas of the hospital, and attitudes to access to smoking rest rooms for patients, staff, and visitors. Smokers were asked whether they would like to join a "quit smoking" group. Non-responders were sent a reminder four weeks later and all replies returned by 31 December 1991 were analysed. RESULTS: The response rate was 82%; of the respondents, 65% were non-smokers, 15% ex-smokers, and 20% current smokers. The prevalence of current smokers was 5% among doctors, 20% among nurses, 18% among administrative and clerical staff, and 40-42% among domestics, catering, and portering staff. Thirty eight per cent of responders wished smoking to be completely forbidden in all areas of the hospital and 90% in certain areas such as wards, offices, cafeteria, and laboratories. Nearly half wanted smoking to be allowed in rest rooms and over 60% wanted a 24 hour facility for smoking for staff, 56% for patients, and 44% for visitors. Only 39% of smokers wished to join a "quit smoking" support group. In comparison with the 1987 survey, the response rate in this study was higher (82% v 70%), the proportion of non-smokers had increased (65% v 59%), and more smokers wanted help (39% v 26%). Fewer wanted 24 hour access to smoking areas for staff and for visitors. CONCLUSION: This hospital should capitalise on these changes of attitude among staff and proceed more rapidly with the implementation of policies to further reduce smoking among staff, visitors, and patients. As a first step a smoking cessation counsellor has been appointed.