Involuntary psychiatric patients are so eager to evade hospital-wide smoking bans that they pieces of paper into electricity outlets in order to produce a spark and puff on it, a recently published research states. The findings of the research are used by the Council of Official Visitors, Western Australia-based mental health advocacy group, to back its call for separate smoking sections for mental health patients.
According to the Council’s recently published annual report, the organization said one patient even was trying to soak his nicotine patches in tea to obtain higher nicotine fix, and admitted it was more than cruel to oblige psychiatric patients to stop their habit immediately after admission.
The Council of Official Visitors as well emphasized some patients were risking their lives by putting paper clips into electricity sockets to get a spark and mimic cigarette smoking. The organization spokesman said the patients have been going through such a terrible period in their lives that forcing them to get through the nicotine withdrawal syndrome is simply inhuman.
The report was passed to the parliament for consideration. “The smoking ban is a dramatic violation of basic human rights and is against the section five of the legislation under which people with mental health disorders should receive proper treatment with the minimal limitation of their freedom and leas violation of their rights.” However, Mike Daube, chairman of Australian Council on Smoking and Health stated the report and the subsequent call as excessive and retrograde. He stated the ban on smoking, implemented in all public medical centers in 2008, has been well-timed and correct, and the exceptions are insignificant if compared to health benefits.
“There has not been reported any major worries about the physical health of involuntary psychiatric patients so we don’t have to be concerned about their health,” he admitted.
Graham Jacobs, ex-minister of mental health minister was previously willing to get legal advice in order to see if he would be able to turn down the ban on smoking for involuntary patients. Current Minister of Mental Health Helen Morton admitted she was “deeply concerned” that patients were risking their lives for nicotine fix. “I am highly concerned that people are resorting to these dangerous means to have a smoke,” she said. “However, it is the governmental measure that no medical institution will be excluded from the smoking ban.”
Mrs Morton mentioned they are going to launch and fund a new $200,000 quit- smoking program, coordinated by current or former patients with mental disorders. Ljiljanna Ravlich, opposition mental health spokesperson claimed she backed the designation of separate smoking areas for involuntary mental health patients since the hospital was their home.
Kim Hames, Western Australia’s Health Minister admitted in case the smoking ban was reviewed, “the findings from the Council of Official Visitors annual research would be taken into consideration”.