Smoking in Long-Term Care Facilities

Currently, there are laws which allow designated smoking areas in senior care facilities. Many facilities are choosing to ban smoking all-together in their establishments. In a study, over 36 million Americans smoked: 22% of those aged over 45 years old and 9% are over the age of 65. Older Americans that smoke may want to age in a facility offering a designated smoking area.

There are no safe levels of secondhand smoke, and there is a higher risk of a fire starting if smoking is allowed on the premises. Nursing Home fires are the most common residential fires, so many nursing homes have banned smoking completely to help avoid fires.

Many facilities offer a smoking area in which the residents can smoke, but they must be monitored while they are smoking. To protect the individuals from injury, staff must be available to those who smoke during the times when they are smoking.

Seniors who choose not to smoke may find it easier to live in a smoke-free senior care facility. Studies have shown that secondhand smoke can cause dementia symptoms, chronic bronchial problems, and may even cause fatalities due to pre-existing problems such as asthma or heart disease. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in non-smokers. Secondhand smoke affects everyone, and many care facilities are recognizing this fact.

As of 2006, there were 440 local laws and 15 state laws that require smoke-free air in at least one of three locations: the workplace, restaurants, and bars). Although, these laws do not include care facilities, there are many privatized laws and policies in each facility regarding the local and state laws.

To find a comfortable environment for you or a loved one regarding their preferences, ask the senior care facility what their policies are regarding smoking. Knowing whether or not smoking is allowed on the premises will help you in your senior care search.

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