This campaign aims to repeal these bans, re-establish smoking areas in suitable outdoor hospital areas, and establish sensible, voluntary quit programs that actually work.
4. Prohibition creates social inequities, crime and violence.
Health authorities should discourage smoking. But history tells us that discouragement is very different to prohibition. Prohibition has never worked. Already in response to these bans we see an underground trade in cigarettes which includes stand-over tactics and violence amongst one of our most vulnerable social groups. We see people taking unsafe risks in order to smoke. Discourage smoking, by all means, but be willing to adapt and compromise on reasonable limits which do not encourage crime and danger.
Harm #2: Cigarette smoking interacts with dopamine receptors in the brain. Multiple studies show that people with mental health issues use smoking to reduce negative side effects of medication, and also as self-medication. Smoking can have a positive effect on motivation, active coping, environmental attention and engagement and emotional responsiveness. Quitting smoking while in an acute psychiatric episode increases distress.
Harm #3: People seek treatment to be relived of distress during a mental health crisis, not to have their distress increased.
Harm #4: Cigarettes interact with the way in which our bodies metabolise many psychiatric drugs. Quitting smoking can change the way our bodies process medications.
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