Including medical marijuana in your hospitals smoke/tobacco-free environment policy

Posted on: 11/7/18


With the passage of State Question 788 (Medical Marijuana), Oklahoma has joined a growing list of states that allows people with a valid license issued by the Oklahoma State Department of Health to purchase medical marijuana when recommended by their physician. This has left many organizations in the state with questions about how medical marijuana impacts their current smoke-free/tobacco-free environment policies.

For the majority of indoor workspaces in Oklahoma, the use of all smokable, vaporized, or combustible medical marijuana will not be permitted as it is subject to the same restrictions as tobacco found in Oklahoma’s “Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act.” Exposure to any smoke is a health hazard and secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing substances and toxins as tobacco smoke.

Oklahoma hospitals, as leaders of health care in their communities, should exercise their leadership in health by adopting comprehensive smoke-free/tobacco-free environment policies that protect all patients, visitors, and employees from exposure to the health hazards of smoke emitted by all tobacco products, medical marijuana, and vaporizers/electronic cigarettes. Hospitals Helping Patients Quit (HHPQ), a grant program of TSET and initiative of the OHA, has extensive experience in helping hospitals and clinics throughout Oklahoma in implementing comprehensive smoke-free/tobacco-free environment policies. The HHPQ program has developed a model smoke/tobacco-free policy that includes any form of nicotine not approved by the FDA for tobacco cessation, combustible medical marijuana, and vaporizers/electronic cigarettes. Additionally, the HHPQ program has developed a toolkit to help with the adoption and implementation of an updated smoke/tobacco-free environment policy that includes medical marijuana. HHPQ offers consultation to OHA member hospitals at no charge. For more information about support from the HHPQ initiative, contact Kelly Willingham at kwillingham@okoha.com or click here.

For more information about the current Oklahoma’s Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Law, click here.

For more information about Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Law, click here.

To view OHA’s Frequently Asked Questions series about Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law, click here.  
(Eric Finley)

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