As we reported in our September issue of Vapouround Magazine, a disproportionate number of people with mental health conditions smoke cigarettes. Half of that population smoke, compared to around 16% of the general population.
Tobacco is often used to help people deal with their condition and to offset certain negative effects of their medication.
In the past few years, an increasing number of NHS Trusts have begun rolling-out smoke-free policies. These have not been without controversy. Initially, some inpatient mental health facilities refused to allow patients to replace tobacco with e-cigarettes as their safety wasn’t yet fully understood. Policing of the devices was also time-consuming for staff who were already spread pretty thin.
Over time, their stance on e-cigarettes has softened, which has enabled many patients to transition to being completely smoke-free.
Earlier this week, the Mental Health and Smoking Partnership hosted a webinar focusing on e-cigarette use among people with mental health conditions and detailed how the devices have been readily embraced. In some cases, previously-sceptical patients have become vocal advocates of smoke-free initiatives, assisting others in switching to vaping and in some cases quitting altogether .
The in-depth discussion is available on ASH’s YouTube channel.