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Title: Assessing the responses of smokers to requests to stop smoking on hospital grounds
Authors: Giles, Luke ;Batchelor, Samantha ;Bauer, Lyndon 
Affliation: Central Coast Local Health District
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Source: 33(2):435-444
Journal title: Health Promotion Journal of Australia
Department: Health Promotion
Abstract: ISSUE ADDRESSED: Fear of aggression is often cited as an issue for health service staff in approaching smokers who are breaching smoke-free policies. This study collected data to quantify the interactions between Health Promotion Service staff and smokers. The aim was to trial de-escalation based protocols for Authorised Inspectors and one for general staff with regards to the aggression risk to staff when approaching smokers within hospital grounds. METHODS: The study design was a non-randomised trial with no control group. A standard protocol was developed, based on de-escalation techniques. The primary outcomes of the study were measures of aggression and smokers' compliance with instructions to extinguish their cigarette. Aggression was recorded using the Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS). Two hundred interactions were conducted with smokers during business hours by Health Promotion Service staff. The first 100 interactions were based on an enforcement methodology typically delivered by Authorised Inspectors, while the second 100 interactions were based on an information and assistance methodology to reflect those that could be delivered by general health service staff. RESULTS: Only four instances of aggression were experienced, representing 2% of all interactions. Each of these were limited to verbal aggression. No self-aggression, aggression against property, or physical aggression was encountered. Smokers were significantly more compliant to instructions to extinguish their cigarette in the enforcement method (64%) than the information and assistance method (45%) (p=<0.001). Groups of smokers were more compliant than individual smokers in the enforcement method (76.3% compared to 56.5%, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study quantifies the risk of aggression to health service staff conducting smoking compliance interactions, using two methodologies. By following de-escalation-based protocols, staff can approach smokers in a low-risk manner and support smoke-free policy implementation and compliance. For general staff, the emphasis of interactions must be on providing information and assistance to smokers, not enforcement, as indicated by the reduced rate of immediate compliance, introducing an increased risk of escalation if enforcement is attempted. SO WHAT?: These protocols could be implemented by other health services or organisations that are seeking to optimise the involvement of staff in supporting smoke-free policies.
DOI: 10.1002/hpja.513
ISSN: 10.1002/hpja.513
Publicaton type: Journal Article
Keywords: Public Health
Appears in Collections:Public Health / Health Promotion

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