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Mental Health Units Should not be Exempt from Smoking Ban

d to other forms of drug misuse, and people are not allowed to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs in mental health units.

Research also shows that smoke-free policies have succeeded in mental health settings. Such bans have caused fewer problems than anticipated, and policies applied in a consistent way to all patients were more effective than selective bans.

The health select committee has proposed that psychiatric institutions in England and Wales should not be exempt from the Health Act 2006, say the authors. “We strongly endorse this proposal and suggest that all mental health settings should introduce complete smoke-free policies. These policies should be introduced in a flexible and pragmatic way, with support and treatment available for patients to stop smoking and manage withdrawal.”

“Exemption from the Health Act will exclude mental health patients from mainstream health improvement strategies and exacerbate the inequality they already experience,” they conclude.

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