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Community Ment Health J. 1989 Spring;25(1):71-7.

Patient reactions to a no smoking policy in a community mental health center.

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Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle 98104.


The prevalence of cigarette smoking in a CMHC population was surveyed and patient attitudes and affective reactions regarding the implementation of a no smoking policy were assessed. The prevalence of smoking (80-84%) was in line with previous reports which have suggested that an extraordinarily high percentage of psychiatric patients engage in cigarette smoking. Significant differences were observed between smokers' and nonsmokers' reactions to the no smoking policy which resulted partially from negative reactions by smokers but also from positive reactions by nonsmokers. Although a slight decrease in client satisfaction was observed, the emotional reactions of smokers were generally not clinically substantive. A 16 month follow-up survey of clinicians further supported the idea that the negative reactions of smokers were not of major magnitude and were probably transitory. The authors conclude that the primary effects of a mental health center smoking policy may be the protection of the service environment and improvements in the well-being of nonsmoking patients and staff who would otherwise be at risk for the effects of second hand smoke.

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