Difficulties smoking ban will cause not yet known

The difficulties that the smoking ban will raise for social care staff and service users have yet to be ironed out, an expert warned at Community Care Live today.CC Live logo article

Smoking will be banned in the workplace and enclosed public places in England from the end of May next year.

But Ian Willmore, public affairs manager at ASH – the campaigning public health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco – said that prisons, secure mental health units and residential care homes would have exemptions.

Although he could see the arguments for allowing people with mental health problems to smoke, for example when they are in an acute psychiatric ward and distressed, he made the counter argument that there is a high prevalence of smoking within this client group and “saying it’s your human right, get one with it, I don’t think is a satisfactory solution”.

Liz Main, an independent mental health and disability consultant and a mental health service user, said that smoking was a high cost for those on low incomes. She added that £139 million went to the Treasury on income tax on cigarettes in one year from people with schizophrenia.

“After paramedics said they wouldn’t go into someone’s house if they were smoking there was a joke doing the rounds that if you don’t want to be sectioned, light up as soon as staff come to the door.”

A ban is already in place in Scotland and Ireland with Wales and Northern Ireland set to follow shortly.

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