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Patients leaving mental health facility to have a smoke.

By Barcham - 22 February 2013 70

ABC News has run a story about mental health patients quitting their treatments early because they are being denied a smoke. Starting this year a smoking ban was implemented into Canberra Hospital’s new psychiatric facility, banning patients from smoking outdoors in the facility’s designated smoking areas.

Does anyone else feel that denying people who are obviously already having a tough time a chance to satisfy their nicotine addictions is a bit well… mean?

ACT Health says there have been five cases where they think the smoking ban has contributed to voluntary patients deciding to leave the facility before finishing their treatment.

What’s Your opinion?


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70 Responses to
Patients leaving mental health facility to have a smoke.
1
Holden Caulfield 9:57 am
22 Feb 13
#

To put a positive spin on things, I guess the money saved on mental health treatment can be re-assigned for their inevitable cancer/smoking-related illness at a later date.

No, I don’t think it’s mean. But as a non-smoker it’s easy for me to say that.

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2
bloodnut 9:59 am
22 Feb 13
#

There have been studies done that show smoking actually aids schizophrenic patients as the nicotine acts as a mild anti-depressant which has a therapeutic effect on their condition.

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3
bundah 10:07 am
22 Feb 13
#

“It is not the entire campus that has become smoke free it is only the mental health facility,”

Sound like discrimination to me!

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4
Dilandach 10:24 am
22 Feb 13
#

Holden Caulfield said :

To put a positive spin on things, I guess the money saved on mental health treatment can be re-assigned for their inevitable cancer/smoking-related illness at a later date.

No, I don’t think it’s mean. But as a non-smoker it’s easy for me to say that.

Not really, any money saved would be used when they inevitably end up in the legal system from lack of treatment.

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5
CapitalK 10:32 am
22 Feb 13
#

It’s a total joke, and why is it the only area in the hospital that is completely smoke free? Of course some patients will quit smoking as a result and that is excellent, but there are some who simply will / can not. They are probably more likely to suffer as a result of the meds they need to take or their actual condition before any smoking related illness gets hold.

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6
ToastFliesRED 11:49 am
22 Feb 13
#

Just for clarity there are only two designated smoking areas on the Canberra Hospital campus, the rest of the place is non-smoking and there are many signs around to indicate that. it does not mean that people do not smoke in non-smoking areas but that is a separate issue of enforcement. there is a designated patient smoking area just down Hospital road from the mental health inpatient facility which would be accessible to all voluntary patients, same as for any other ward.

that being said I do agree that one of the outdoor areas in the new MH block could/should be considered for smoking status

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7
Watson 1:02 pm
22 Feb 13
#

Perhaps simply because they can treat them like naughty kids?

It’s not as if people with serious mental health issues that often lead to depression and suicidal thoughts would give a stuff about the risk of cancer or emphysema. For some, the routine and ritual of going out for a smoke may be the one thing that helps them cling onto sanity.

These anti-smoking rules seem to sometimes be mainly there so some non-smokers can feel good about themselves and satisfy their control-freak streak by patronising immoral smokers.

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8
breda 1:07 pm
22 Feb 13
#

They’ve done the same in NSW mental health facilities.

So, a person who is fighting demons and voices and/or crushing depression is deprived of a cigarette because it’s bad for them. This is self-righteous cruelty in the guise of ‘caring’.

As Aldous Huxley wisely said:

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”

People who are in mental health facilities – or indeed in any other hospital – are in varying states of distress. To pick this moment to inflict further discomfort on them in the name of Public Health is simply sadism masked as virtue.

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9
miz 1:07 pm
22 Feb 13
#

Surely they can give the patients nicotine patches. Win, win – the patient get their nicotine fix (whether therapeutic or addiction-driven) and may even be able to cut down on the ciggies; and the hospital remains smoke free (as all health facilities should be).

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10
Watson 1:25 pm
22 Feb 13
#

miz said :

Surely they can give the patients nicotine patches. Win, win – the patient get their nicotine fix (whether therapeutic or addiction-driven) and may even be able to cut down on the ciggies; and the hospital remains smoke free (as all health facilities should be).

Why should all health facilities be smoke-free? Why is it anybody’s business?

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11
astrojax 1:41 pm
22 Feb 13
#

Watson said :

miz said :

Surely they can give the patients nicotine patches. Win, win – the patient get their nicotine fix (whether therapeutic or addiction-driven) and may even be able to cut down on the ciggies; and the hospital remains smoke free (as all health facilities should be).

Why should all health facilities be smoke-free? Why is it anybody’s business?

well, i don’t diagree that health faciliites should be smoke-free – the question is, what constitutues the ‘facility’? it should probably be the physical infrastructure and the access corridors, so an open air space that happens to be near a health facility, should be accessible to smokers.

and surely, as others have noted, these vulnerable patients are the ones who should be treated humanely and with some respect. this is sadism… [and i’m a non-smoker]

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12
Diggety 1:55 pm
22 Feb 13
#

breda said :

So, a person who is fighting demons and voices and/or crushing depression is deprived of a cigarette because it’s bad for them. This is self-righteous cruelty in the guise of ‘caring’.

As Aldous Huxley wisely said:

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”

People who are in mental health facilities – or indeed in any other hospital – are in varying states of distress. To pick this moment to inflict further discomfort on them in the name of Public Health is simply sadism masked as virtue.

This!

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13
poetix 1:55 pm
22 Feb 13
#

I wonder what percentage of psychiatric nurses smoke? I would guess a very high percentage, given the incredibly stressful nature of the job and the often erratic hours. So they must come back smelling of cigarettes to the addicted and deeply troubled patients who can’t smoke.

There would be concerns around access to matches/lighters, and passive smoking, but these can surely be worked out.

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14
Diggety 1:55 pm
22 Feb 13
#

Watson said :

Perhaps simply because they can treat them like naughty kids?

It’s not as if people with serious mental health issues that often lead to depression and suicidal thoughts would give a stuff about the risk of cancer or emphysema. For some, the routine and ritual of going out for a smoke may be the one thing that helps them cling onto sanity.

These anti-smoking rules seem to sometimes be mainly there so some non-smokers can feel good about themselves and satisfy their control-freak streak by patronising immoral smokers.

And that!

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15
breda 2:18 pm
22 Feb 13
#

miz, if your contention was true, nobody would smoke. They’d just pop on a patch, and Robert would be your mother’s brother.

Many people with mental illness smoke heavily, for all sorts of reasons. There is no question that banning smoking increases their distress – hell, it increases the distress of even the most even-tempered person.

Nobody has ever claimed that smoking cigarettes initiates crime or other bad behaviour, unlike alcohol or other drugs which are banned with some objective basis.

Why is the equation so inevitable: social engineer = doesn’t have a clue?

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