A new study showed that the number of hospital patients who smoke has dropped from 25 percent in 1995 to 18.4 percent in 2010.
In the study, researchers surveyed about 5,400 hospitalized smokers admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital’s tobacco treatment program between 2007 and 2010. Their findings reveal a decline in the number of patients smoking on hospital grounds. They said one possible explanation to the decline is the increased use of nicotine replacement therapy patches, lozenges, gum and inhalers.
The researchers wrote that the use of nicotine replacement therapy had increased more than twelve-fold from 1995 to 2010.
“It is encouraging that there has been improvement, but it’s discouraging that the nicotine replacement therapy has not been able to put more of a dent into this,” study’s lead author Susan Regan, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Reuters.
Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital allows people to smoke at two smoking shelters on its property. Ragan pointed out these shelters are where smokers likely to light up cigarettes. He said keeping the hospital campus smoke-free is one way to completely eliminate smoking and prevent patients from leaving their ward to smoke.
But Ragan was quick to say their findings are only based on one hospital and the conditions it faces may not be the same as others.