Comment

Don't rush to lift e-cigarette bans in mental healthcare settings

Allowing vaping risks more than a return to smoke-filled rooms 

Allowing vaping risks more than a return to smoke-filled rooms

The relationship between mental health services and tobacco is a long – and not necessarily happy – one.

Tobacco was a big part of daily life in the institutions that are now confined to history in the UK. It was used as a form of reward in token economy schemes and as wages in the distant past for those individuals deemed fit enough to be ward ‘workers’.

Until relatively recently, the characteristic smell of mental health wards was of stale tobacco. Even worse were the day rooms, with an atmosphere almost akin to the smog of post-war London.

Restrictions bring challenges

The rate of smoking among people with severe mental illness is still twice that of people without such a diagnosis or label.

Endeavours to prohibit smoking

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