“NHS chiefs have sparked outrage by banning smoking within the grounds of all the mental health facilities in East Lancashire.
It means patients detained under the Mental Health Act are forced to abstain from smoking during the course of their admission, as they are unable to leave the premises.
Bosses said the policy, which also covers e-cigarettes, follows national guidance and patients will instead be offered nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or chewing gum.
But staff and campaigners have raised serious concerns, saying the ban could lead to increased agitation, aggression and violence on the wards.
One nurse, who asked not to be named for fear of being disciplined, said: “What I have observed so far is a significant increase in patient harm due to the ban. Violence has increased, with emotional distress and frustration subsequently having a detrimental effect on patients.”
And Rose again:
Drug use, smoking ban stoking mental health unit’s violence: union
“The impact of smoking bans at the unit is also a concern for ACT Mental Health Consumer Network executive officer Dalane Drexler.
“Consumers are reporting to us that it’s a significant concern for them,” she said.
“Not only do we have people in there who are saying that there are violent incidents surrounding smoking and it’s not always the smokers who are becoming aggressive, we also have reports from consumers who won’t admit for voluntary treatment because they’re a smoker and they don’t want to be forced not to smoke when they’re already in a very distressed state.
“When somebody is mentally unwell and they lack capacity to make decisions, they’re a risk to possibly others and certainly themselves, that is not the time to be forcing somebody to stop smoking.”
I share the disgust expressed in the comments. And in particular Magnetic’s:
If an involuntary patient is asking for a cigarette, they obviously don’t want to quit. Forcing smoking cessation on them is going beyond the scope of treatment permitted for the patient and violating informed consent (either patient or court). It’s bureaucrats and antismoking activist bigots terribly messing with vulnerable patients. Mental patients are not some experimental quantity whose entire lives are at the complete disposal/whim of psychiatrists/bureaucrats. There is very serious misconduct occurring here. The problem is that an ideological crusade – the smokefree “utopia” – now trumps the humane treatment of patients. It is a cruelty inflicting further distress and anguish on mental patients masqueraded as “duty of care”, i.e., iatrogenic.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tobacco Control must be destroyed, and every single last one of the bastards kicked out of the medical profession and wherever else they are to be found. And we could do with a Nuremberg trial for the worst offenders.
But never mind mental patients. After reading this, I found myself wondering what the psychological impact of smoking bans on ordinary sane people might be. Because it’s not really as if there are two discrete groups of sane and insane people, but a sort of continuum (and I very often count the psychiatrists among the insane).
What is the response of ordinary people to being excluded, demonised, and threatened? What is their response to being made into second class citizens?
I don’t really know, to be honest. For as a social outcast, I spend very little time talking to people these days. So I have little idea. I really only what my response has been. I used to count the 1960s as the most ‘disturbing’ period in my life, but now I think that the present day is the most disturbing. Because back in the 60s my ‘hippie’ period only lasted 4 or 5 years, after which I ‘came down’. But smoking ban has now lasted over 7 years, and has quite knocked me sideways, and brought numerous changes of attitude. And there seems to be no way to ‘come down’.
I think the main psychological effect I’ve felt is anger. I felt angry on 1 July 2007, when the ban came in, and I’ve remained angry ever since. In the beginning I would sometimes spend whole days in rage, to the point that I began to worry that I might suffer some sort of apoplectic fit. I don’t get that angry now, but it remains a smouldering underground fire that can burst into flame easily, and quite frequently does. I’m a much angrier person that I was before 2007.
Wiel Maessen once asked me whether I was depressed, and seemed to disbelieve me when I told him I wasn’t – which left me guessing that maybe Wiel or his Dutch friends were. But somehow anger trumps depression. And I far prefer being angry to being depressed.
Neither do I feel in the least bit lonely, despite hardly knowing anyone any more. But this blog is probably a big help in that respect. George Speller once commented, “But you’ve still got us.” At the time that didn’t seem much to be glad of, but now I think he was right. I may have lost a lot of my face-to-face friends, but I seem to have won quite a few from all over the world – which is a rather wonderful thing. I’ve left one local community, and joined a global community.
But what about everyone else? Is there any way of measuring the psychological state of a population? Count the number of meds they’re on? I’ve no idea.
In summer, I occasionally meet up with a few acquaintances I’ve made in my new Herefordshire locality. And the smokers all seem to be quite cheerful. But I know from the ISIS survey, which included a few of them, that they’ve been suffering just as much as everyone else. But they seem to just carry on as if nothing was happening. They don’t talk about the smoking ban. They just carry on smoking anyway. Perhaps it’s a sort of wartime ‘blitz spirit’. They won’t let things get them down. And anyway the cure for everything is a cup of tea and a cigarette.