Psychiatrists question smoking ban

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has questioned whether psychiatric units should have to adopt a full smoking ban.

A survey of psychiatric inpatients showed attitudes towards a smoking ban differed considerably from those of the general public, and suggested a compromise could be struck when mental health trusts are required to bring in the ban on 1 July.

Mental health units were given a 12-month exemption from enforcing the smoking ban in public places which was introduced last year.

The survey of 135 patients at Mersey Care Mental Health trust revealed that only 3% of patients supported a complete ban, although 71% agreed with a general non-smoking policy but with designated smoking areas. These results contrast with the public consultation on the Health Bill, where 90% of people supported a ban on smoking in public places.

The study reinforces previous findings that smoking is more prevalent among psychiatric patients. The researchers said the study “may reflect views that smoking policy should be more lenient in psychiatric units”.

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