Hospitals and Smoking

For nearly three decades following the publication of the landmark Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, the American Hospital Association, hospital administrators, and hospital medical staffs all dragged their feet in prohibiting smoking in health care facilities. Even after Congress banned smoking on airlines in 1988 and after many major cities passed clean indoor air laws restricting smoking in public places, few hospitals discouraged patients, visitors, medical personnel, and other employees from smoking. In 1991 The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) mandated that hospitals be smoke-free by December 31, 1993. Even then there were exceptions for patients whose physicians wrote a note in the chart permitting it. This collection consists of one box of items related to the history of smoking in hospitals, primarily newspaper and medical journal articles, photographs, ashtrays, and other artifacts. A related subject included in this collection is the history of listing smoking as a cause of death on death certificates.