N° 163
31 May 2005 


Health professionals should push for a smoking ban in hospitals, research facilities, and health-care clinics as well as in public places, states a comment published online today (Tuesday May 31, 2005) by The Lancet to coincide with World No Tobacco Day.

By 2030, it is expected that 10 million people will die annually from tobacco related disease—a substantial proportion of these deaths will be from cancer. Peter Boyle (Director, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France) and colleagues from cancer organisations worldwide are calling for cancer centres in particular, whether clinical or research, to become more active in the area of tobacco control. Cancer centres should become exemplar institutions in providing tobacco-cessation services to everyone on the staff. The department responsible for staff health should include provisions for tobacco cessation services, ensuring ultimate health protection, state the authors.

Professor Boyle concludes: "The runaway success of smoke-free bars in Ireland and elsewhere should be a lesson to all, including the health-care establishment, that the public is aware of the risks of tobacco smoke and wants the freedom from exposure to an unhealthy environment. Excuses that it is ‘too difficult for patients not to smoke’ or that ‘too many doctors or nurses smoke’ are simply not justifiable reasons to continue to allow smoking within the confines of a health-care facility. In addition more work must be done within hospitals, clinics, research institutes, and communities to promote smoking cessation and prevention."

Contact: Professor Peter Boyle, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon, Cedex 08, France. +33 4 72 73 85 77

World Health Organization
International Agency for Research on Cancer

Organisation mondiale de la Santé
Centre international de Recherche sur le Cancer

150, cours Albert-Thomas 69372 Lyon Cedex 08 (France)
Telephone: 33 472 738 485     Facsimile: 33 472 738 311