Smoking Bans Deterring Patients?

H/T Nisakiman for this story:

The sudden drop in clients at Maple Leaf Farm coincided with the implementation of a Vermont Health Department policy requiring residential drug treatment centers to be tobacco-free. Intended as a step toward improving public health and the well-being of clients, the anti-smoking policy instead deterred patients from receiving treatment for opiate addiction at the center.

While Maple Leaf Farm Executive Director Catey Iacuzzi sat in a committee room one morning earlier this month for testimony on opiate addiction services, she received emails notifying her that two clients had left the program because they were not allowed to light up at the facility.

I often wonder if smoking bans and the all-out War on Smokers might have the effect of deterring smokers from seeking medical attention.

For example, I haven’t visited a doctor for nearly 10 years. In truth, I haven’t had much reason to visit one. I never did visit doctors much except to get the sleeping tablets that I’ve now replaced with neat whisky (which is much nicer). So I haven’t had a blood pressure test, or a blood sugar test, or any of the other damn tests, for that entire period. I’ve lost a lot of faith in a medical profession that’s come to be dominated by antismoking zealots.

But perhaps that’s just me?

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24 Responses to Smoking Bans Deterring Patients?

  1. rattyariel says:

    I would have answered “much less,” instead of “less,” except that in the past few months I’ve had a health problem that’s required exams and tests, and I have more tests coming up. But I procrastinated in making that first appointment, and a lot of that procrastination was due to me knowing I’d be facing a ton of BS about me being a smoker. (I would have said I don’t smoke, but I’m an incredibly lousy liar).
    Before the smoking bans in hospitals/psychiatric units, I checked myself in several times for major depression, and was glad I did. The treatment was helpful, and it was really nice to hang out with the other patients. Most of them were interesting, intelligent and kind people, and we’d sit around in the day room and talk, laugh and smoke. I believe the social contact was the most helpful thing that went on in the hospital.
    But the last time I went to the psych unit, I discovered that they’d banned smoking in the hospital. They searched me head to toe, looked through my purse, and even through the pages of the book I’d brought, and took away my cigarettes and matches. This upset me to no end. For the first 72 hours of your stay you were not allowed to go outside the unit. You were only allowed to smoke outside. So there I was, deeply depressed, suicidal, horribly anxious, and suddenly forced to STOP SMOKING. I got a big lecture about how smoking makes depression worse, which didn’t help my mood any.
    They gave me a nicotine patch, which did nothing.
    And the day room, which in my previous stays had been filled with patients socializing over their cigarettes, remained virtually empty the entire time I was there. People either stayed in their rooms, or went outside to smoke. All camaraderie was gone.
    Since the smoking ban, no matter how depressed I get, even if I get to the point of feeling suicidal, I absolutely refuse to go into the hospital.

    • Nightlight says:

      With Google search and YouTube, one can find people somewhere in the world with exactly same problems and experiment with or explore their solutions (often using medicinal plants, ancient folk remedies, meditation, etc).

  2. Nightlight says:

    Didn’t visit doctors since 1991, which is before the worst of abuses of smokers started here. I stopped because I realized what a quackery and money making fraud much of their “disease management” was. I would still go if necessary for major acute problems with quick, direct and simple solutions, such as broken bones, heavy injuries, acute major infections and such. Luckily, the worst that happened to me since then was a dislocated finger which I set and fixed by myself.

    I basically avoid any contact with the sickness industry like a plague, since they’re very smooth, convincing talkers and will inject fears into your mind to gnaw at you until the beast can latch its claws. Once it sucks you and sets you onto the chain of drugs, each new one to alleviate symptoms of damages caused by the previous ones, it becomes almost impossible to break out of its grip. Over years I watched close up several relatives and friends go like that through the full money extraction digestive system of the medical beast, only to get spit out when the insurance ran out, to die in misery after several years of indignities and suffering.

    So, for me, the full antismoking hysteria which took off later merely confirmed what I already knew.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m so glad that I’m on zero medication for anything. I’m sure that if I ever visit a doctor, they’ll put me on about 10 drugs, for conditions I never knew I had.

      • Barry Homan says:

        I also take no meds, for anything. I smoke and vape, drink in moderation, consume 8 cups of coffee per day. I eat very well, my wife is a good cook. I’m 56 and have been healthy all my life, barring one or two small instances. Like you Frank, I have trouble sleeping at times. Life’s never perfect.

  3. slugbop007 says:

    For a good selection of organic rolling tobacco and other varieties of tobacco you should try this fellow in Germany:

    • nisakiman says:

      Nice find, slug. Good prices, too. I’ll definitely be ordering a selection of rolling tobaccos from them in the very near future.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    I would have answered “much less,” instead of “less,” except that in the past few months I’ve had a health problem that’s required exams and tests.

    SAME HERE Now Im up with back pain finally taking the 24 hour past any pain killer in me,back hurst like hell but they say the back is the last of the severe pain but it keeps you up all nite like a sore throat in your back with a nail driven in it…………..Im determined! Fuck doctors all they do is hook ya fuck ya and leave ya hanging.

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    With opiate addiction killing more Americans than auto accidents the need for treatment centers are severe. Worse possible time for smoking bans. They defeat the whole purpose of treatment.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I finally got a detox pro on the phone lastnite. Seems when you are tapering down you need about 1 week to 2 weeks between down dosing for your bodies endorphins and other checmicals to adjust to the new lowered dose. He said no more than 5mg per down dose at a time. I jumped the ball and down dose from 15mgs a day to just 5 at nite. That’s why I went thru hell week and then I went thru 2 nites off and finally at 3 am this morning I was so wiped out I had to hit 5mg to finally get some sleep.

      He said I needed to stay at 5mg at nite before bed and allow my body to adjust to that dose likely another week and get my body built back up before going cold turkey again.

      He said Id know when because after acclimation/body adjusting to dose with out withdrawels your ready for the next level TOTAL DETOX.

      But he said once your body acclimates to that level the withdrawels will be so much less Id likely be able to even sleep at nite over the first few days. You just have to give your body time to heal to adjustments in dosage. Like they say you didn’t get to the 4 a day in 1week or even 1 month. Some do some don’t. But it takes a bit more time for the body to adjust to the come down so the severe withdrawel pains aren’t so bad.
      A good tapering plan is essential to a completed plan.

      Problem is don’t even try to use sleep aids to get to sleep in deep withdrawel pains at nite its a total waste of time. In the daytime is when for some reason the back pain withdrawels are way less severe and that’s the time to hit them to get some sleep.

      Anyway Im going to do what he said another week at 5mg at nite only suffer the daytime pains that will lessen and that’s important WHEN THEY LESSEN. That’s when you are able and your body has acclimated enuf to do the next step total detox and be well rested and hydrated the day you begin it. So likely next sunday if everything works out right Im going back to a total detox.

      Its a rough road and all of it quite innocently acquired………..I aint never in my life been on anything Ive never even been much of a drinker. Im just a smoker my only vice save my sailors language at times………….lol

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        forgot I have a tens unit………………damn thing took the pain away. Besides that I aint felt hardly anything in withdrawels today.

  6. nisakiman says:

    I answered ‘about the same’ because I’ve never really used doctors much anyway, apart from the occasional physical thing like broken bones, hernia and stuff like that. I’ve only really been sick a few times in my adult life – malaria and hepatitis when I was travelling in Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent, glandular fever when I was in my early twenties and when I was in my thirties I caught mumps from my son (OUCH! Don’t ask…!); none of which could ever be linked to smoking, even by the ‘experts’ working for TC. I would guess I’ve been to the doctors maybe a dozen times in the past 50 years – the last time about 10 years ago because I cracked a bone in my coccyx when I was cavorting in Cambodia, and I went to a doctor here when I got back. Of course here in Greece the doctors aren’t rabid anti-smokers (many being smokers themselves), so they’re not really interested in whether you smoke or not. I’ve never been asked.

    I have no idea what my blood pressure, cholesterol count, blood sugar levels etc etc are, and I’m not really interested. I feel good, and that’s all that matters to me.

  7. Rose says:

    I go about as much as before, which is about once every 15 years or so when there is something I can’t fathom out myself.

    In my younger days I fell for every medical news story or health scare and lived my life in a state of almost constant worry about things I’d never heard of before. You can usually find one of the symptoms, real or imagined and as for the routine tests for cancers I began to feel like I was on borrowed time.

    So eventually I took my doctor’s advice.

    “Don’t spend your life worrying about things that may never happen”

    “Most things are self limiting and those that aren’t will most probably kill you”

    I can accept that.

    Nice man, he’d known me from the day I was born.

    • Rose says:

      I just realised that wasn’t entirely accurate, the question was on medical services.

      I go to the optician’s regularly and the dentist’s every six months.

      A new dentist took over from my previous one while she was on leave, and however gently, started giving me a lecture on the perils of smoking.
      Now, I don’t know about you, but arguing the opposing case while under the drill is a bit too much for even the kindliest soul to put up with, however earnest a dentist might be in his beliefs.
      So I left the practice.

      I found my previous dentist and now we talk happily about our shared interest in gardening again.

      I am a private patient.

  8. Barry Homan says:

    I went to the doctor’s a week ago, I had a blemish near my throat that I felt needed diagnosing. I live in Denmark, where anti-smoking insanity isn’t very strong yet. Still, I was all pumped and psyched before entering the doc’s, I was gonna make it very clear from the start that I wouldn’t tolerate any unnecessary questioning, or any smoker-harassment.

    The exam took less than 4 minutes. Doc said the blemish was nothing more than a type of eczema, I got a prescription for some cheap ointment. That’s it, no questions. Didn’t even ask if I smoked, and I look like a smoker.

    So far, Denmark still remains a little reserved about fanaticizing health-care. I hope it stays that way.

  9. slugbop007 says:

    This Cato Institute essay was written by Pierre Lemieux in the fall of 2015.

    Click to access regulation-v38n3-4.pdf

  10. Cecily Collingridge says:

    It’s rather difficult to answer the question as it is phrased because, to date, I have worn multiple hats with regards to accessing health services or products:
    i) on others’ behalf as a past carer
    ii) as a consumer/patient myself and,
    iii) in market research parlance, as a ‘mystery shopper’ to experience/observe things first hand (e.g. hospitals, support services, ‘smoking cessation’ offerings) – I have worked in a number of research environments and fields, off and on, over the years and whilst my curiosity about the world and people is undiminished, my concerns about healthcare in general and the rise of healthism, and tobacco control in particular, have risen.

    I have a creeping suspicion that the drift from traditional medicine towards health promotion in GP practices is leading to more misdiagnoses and certainly mismanagement.

    My trust in doctors, consultants and nurses was broken many times years ago and there is little left.

    Knowing what I know now, (including that research shows women are less likely to be referred to consultants, be prescribed treatments or optimal medications compared to men and a similar gender bias is found in the development of drugs, toxicological tests on animals, radiation protection standards… you name it!) makes me even more cautious. The smoking ban in hospitals was malicious. My more recent awareness of the dreadful attitude there is in some quarters towards respiratory patients (now that I am one) at my main local hospital is as a result of stigmatisation policy. This was the final straw. I have vowed never to go into hospital as an in-patient or into a care home (my late mother was infantalised and humiliated in the one she went to for two weeks to give me respite). I have no intention whatsoever of dying there or go into my local hospice either where the smoking ban covers all family members and friends.

    Being questioned about my smoking has gone beyond a joke, especially as I was never a heavy smoker or been a lifelong one and I use a holder with filters that remove tar too. I used to make up the answers but my disgust at the poor methodology being used to gather data prevailed (because it compromises any analysis) and I give explanations as to why I can’t answer instead. However, being over a certain age and having health conditions, I have had annual reviews for a number of years but my inquisitors don’t seem capable of seeing the person in front of them – in fact they seem more intent looking at their screens. Like the Terminator that never stops, their fixation on filling their tick boxes resulted in my getting a phone call just after Christmas from my GP practice asking about my smoking because they didn’t seem to have it down in their notes. (The system doesn’t allow them to record my actual responses so I am designated a ‘refuser’).

    I went to the dentist yesterday and got asked about my smoking there too (the NHS smokefree materials for dentists was up in the waiting room with the usual exaggeration about ‘deadly toxins’ and the 7000 chemicals in smoke including carcinogens or whatever).

    That is THREE TIMES now in 9 months I have asked these questions! When does this officially constitute persecution because I feel like it is already?

    Any day now, I expect the pharmacist to ask the same questions whenever I collect a repeat prescription as the government wants them to take a greater role. I’m having second thoughts about making an appointment at an optician in case they are supposed to assess smoking status there too. But my glasses are falling apart, they are so old.

  11. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    Although I do use the NHS ‘services’ a little less than before, and because of, the Smoking Verbot, I tend to employ the ‘Legiron’ strategy & tell all whom I care about to ALWAYS say that they are smokers, better still ’60 a day filterless smokers of cigarettes sooo strong the tar drips down their fingers’.

    Why? A non smoker goes to his GP with an itchy scrote, headache, sleeplessness, sore throat, swollen glands or *insert any other ‘minor’ symptom here* he’ll get told to take 2 paracetamol and eat 5 a day.

    If I go to the GP , as a heavy smoker,with an ingrown toe nail then I’ll automatically get complete blood screening, DNA tests, CAT scans, MRI scans and a choice of the most expensive medications on the market.

    Non Smokers die younger. I’ve seen it happen more than once. My best nonsmoking friend died from
    a lump in his non smoking leg that was ‘a torn muscle, take 2 paracetamol’ because as a non smoker, Veggie, sport freak it couldn’t possibly be cancer at his young age (21 I think?)….only smokers get cancer.

  12. Pingback: Patients Are Deterred | Frank Davis

  13. beobrigitte says:

    I often wonder if smoking bans and the all-out War on Smokers might have the effect of deterring smokers from seeking medical attention.

    Of course! WHO on earth wants to sit in agony through the medic’s question relating to smoking when one has knee tendinitis?
    My own not too long ago encounter I cut short by starting to talk without being asked:
    “Yes, I am a smoker. No, I have no plans for being bullied into giving up my habit, less even will I entertain NRT. Yes, I am well over 50. No, I do not take any medicines. I have had low blood pressure all my life and am fine with it. No, I do not have joint problems, neither have I ever had a heart attack, nor do I suffer from diabetes or anything else. Can you please sort out my knee. Must have overdone the DIY.”

    The medic was speechless.

    Since I am heavy duty DIY-ing again I can assure everyone that only electric saw injuries will be a call – for an ambulance!!

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