British government officials are urging all low and medium security mental health units to go ‘smoke free’, effectively forcing patients off cigarettes. Clinical experts warn that making patients quit against their will is illegal, contravening the Mental Health Act and setting a precedent that could see all sorts of health procedures inflicted upon mental health patients against their wishes.
I would imagine that a smoking ban in mental health units might be very distressing for patients who are already deeply distressed. Furthermore, getting them to stop smoking means forcing upon them a form of ‘treatment’ that might run counter to psychiatric opinion. It’s a bit like requiring hospitals to sterilise patients (q.v.) at the same time they perform unrelated operations on them. The additional intervention may increase the likelihood of complications.
None of this matters to antismoking zealots, of course.
Ms Yates also appeared on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 later that day, confirming that patients at her units are prevented from smoking upon being admitted. “What we’ve promised to our patients is that within thirty minutes of their admission, if they’re a smoker, we’ll make sure we have the nicotine replacement ready and waiting for them. Our cupboards are full of patches, inhalators, lozenges, whatever people want,” she said.
But not e-cigs, of course.
She insisted that “All of the evidence we have now is suggesting that smoking not only harms people’s physical health but is detrimental to their mental health and wellbeing”. But when Vine confronted her, asking “What evidence?” she was unable to answer. Instead she generalised, repeating that there is “quite compelling evidence suggesting that quitting smoking enhances people’s health and wellbeing”, and underscoring the need for “cost effective treatment”.
And H/T Smokingscot for this story from New Zealand:
A suggestion by a Palmerston North city councillor that Maori women be sterilised to stop them smoking in front of their children has outraged councillors and Maori health advocates.
Councillor Bruce Wilson was speaking at the community wellbeing committee this week about a proposed smokefree policy covering the central city around and including The Square.
He said if the aim was to stop adults role-modelling smoking behaviour, and given 41 per cent of Maori women smoked, perhaps they should be sterilised.
The comment drew a shocked response from other councillors, and he quickly said he was not advocating the idea.
He also said it was not something he would say to the media.
However, a Manawatu Standard reporter was in the public gallery.
Wilson yesterday made an unreserved apology for the “inept” way he had expressed his frustration about ineffective policies to reduce the harm tobacco caused.
Maori Party co-leader and Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said the comments were “absolutely appalling”, and the media had a responsibility to report them.
This looks like a novel case when two (maybe three) prejudices have combined: Antismoking, racism, and compulsory sterilisation.
Compulsory sterilization refers to governmental policies put in place to control a country’s population or as a form of eugenics (improving hereditary qualities of a race or breed by controlling mating) to prevent certain groups of people from reproducing. Compulsory sterilization is no longer enforced in any country.
For a while I was wondering what everyone was up in arms about. Forcing sterilisation on smokers? Forcing sterilisation on Maoris? Or forcing sterilisation on anybody?
As best I can make out, the uproar was over forcing sterilisation on Maoris. As far as I can see, if Bruce Wilson had merely called for the forced sterilisation on smokers, the measure would probably have been unanimously adopted. It was calling for Maoris to be sterilised that triggered the racism alarms.
As best I understand, the use of sterilisation as a form of eugenics had its heyday in the early 20th century, and fell into disrepute after its use in Nazi Germany. I’m surprised that the eugenics alarm wasn’t triggered as well as the racism alarm.
No chance anyone being outraged about the treatment of smokers, of course. That’s all the rage the days, just like racism and eugenics were a century ago. But when the full horror of the global antismoking pogrom is eventually revealed, in about 50 years time, I have no doubt that antismoking will come to be regarded as being as obnoxious as racism and eugenics.
What the hell. Here’s Fleetwood Mac on tour in 2015.