Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ban lifted in mental health units, Western Australia

Following reports that patients have resorted to dangerous measures in order to smoke, including exchanging sex for cigarettes, Mental Health Minister Helen Morton has announced her intention to lift the ban in mental health facilities. There are reports that treatment attempts are impeded by the ban, which is widely felt to be cruel to patients, and the move is supported by a staff union known as United Voice.

Dissent came unsurprisingly from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, whose spokesman said:
the council's call was "misguided, retrograde and exaggerated". He said the smoking ban, introduced on all public hospital sites in 2008, was "being very well implemented and there will always be one or two exceptions". [first link above]
One or two? Well, who knows? I suspect the problem was a little more serious than that, in order to convince an Australian government minister  that a smoking ban has gone too far.

Hair-raising stories about desperate measures can be found on this side of the globe too: the Isle of Man prison banned smoking recently and this is the result: unfortunately the authorities there have less empathy than they have managed to show in Australia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I worked several years in providing psychiatric assistance in mental hospital ages ago and back then many patients smoked and it did them more emotional and spiritual good than physical harm. Taking away their tobacco is something cruel in my opinion. I think that is why the Geneva Convention said that withholding tobacco from POWs was considered extremely cruel punishment. I wonder if the Geneva Convention still means anything or maybe governments don't care about it anymore, happy to repeat history's mistakes I am certain, as evident already by the bans in mental hospitals, very very cruel.