Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics

Perspectives

Smoke and Mirrors: One Case for Ethical Obligations of the Physician as Public Role Model

JACOB M. APPEL

As a result of workplace clean air regulations and strict guidelines imposed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in 1993, most hospitals in the United States are now virtually smoke free. Although evidence suggests that these restrictions both cause smoking employees to consume fewer cigarettes per day and induce some employees to quit smoking entirely, the policies have also driven many healthcare providers—including physicians—onto the public sidewalks for their cigarette breaks. Patients entering many hospitals pass white-coated medical students and residents puffing away at the curbside.

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