Smoking Swedish nurses forced to changed clothes

Hospital staff in the Jönköping area of Sweden will have to change clothes every time they go out for a smoke, according to new rules introduced by the local health authority.

The draconian new measures have been introduced as part of a drive by the Jönköping County Council to discourage their staff from smoking.

Staff who go out for a cigarette other during coffee breaks will also get their wages docked.

“We’re not harrassing smokers, but they should realise that smoking is not acceptable anywhere in the heathcare system,” Marianne Tollin, the council’s director of public health told Jönköpings Posten.

Both staff and patients wanting to smoke will from now on also be to restricted to special glass shelters on hospital grounds. Elsewhere on health authority property – both inside and outside – smoking will be forbidden.

Forcing smokers to change out of their work clothes is necessary to ensure that patients, staff and visitors are not exposed to tobacco smoke or the smell or tobacco, the council argues.

The tough rules will be accompanied by help for staff to give up the evil weed. The council says that it will offer support programmes in paid time for those who want to give up. Staff will also be offered 1,500 kronor to buy anti-smoking medication.

“The council wants to be a model employer,” says Marianne Tollin.

“Experience shows that those who get help to give up are more likely to succeed.”

The move comes in the same week that smoking was banned in all bars and restaurants in Sweden. A poll showed that 85 percent of Swedes were in favour of the move.