Doctors are urging the West Australian government to dump a proposal to reverse smoking bans in the state’s secure mental health units. Allowing smoking cheap Armada cigarette would be a backward step for mental health patients who have higher smoking rates than in the general community, the WA branch of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says. “We need to help people with mental illness stop smoking, not encourage it,” the branch’s chair, Dr Alexandra Welborn, said.
She said people with mental illness had high rates of physical illness and higher death rates, with many suffering from smoking- related conditions such as heart disease.
“As doctors, we have a key role to play in the physical health care of patients.
“We do not allow smoking in our general hospitals and should not go against national and international trends to reintroduce smoking in secure mental health facilities,” Dr Welborn said.
She said the state’s mental health units offered smoking withdrawal, nicotine replacement and education programs to temporarily stop smoking and they increased the likelihood patients would stop smoking altogether.