Should Smoking Be Banned in Nursing Homes?
California is considering banning smoking in nursing homes, as it already does in hospitals.
The argument for the ban is that secondhand smoke may be particularly harmful for the frail or sickly people in these long-term care facilities, California Healthline reports. But nursing homes, of course, aren’t hospitals. People live there. According to California Healthline:
The problem is, according to those in opposition to the bill, many longtime smokers live in these nursing facilities, and are forced outside to smoke, even during extreme weather conditions — from heat waves to thunderstorms — and that can be hazardous to those residents.
Senate member Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) raised that issue, and posed a question: “What about the patient who is admitted as a lifelong smoker?” Harman said. “I know it’s a difficult habit to break, and it seems it’s difficult enough to be placed in a long-term facility and then go cold turkey in inclement weather. It could be raining for 10 days, and they can’t go outside for 10 days, what about then?”
The California Association of Health Facilities asked for flexibility for that reason. The article also discusses additional pros and cons—including a question about whether the law would apply to hospice facilities.
Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.