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Guidance to help reduce high smoking rates among patients in mental health units in England


posted by WM Admin on 11 June 2015

New figures from Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England shine fresh light on the high smoking rates among people living with mental health problems.

Nationally 33% of people with a mental health problem smoke compared to 18.7% in the population as a whole. A PHE and NHS England survey found that smoking rates among service users in mental health units is even higher at 64%. 

PHE and NHS England have published new guidance to help medium and low secure mental health units best implement the NICE recommendation that all NHS funded sites should provide access to on-site stop smoking services and deliver care in an environment free of smoke.

The guidance highlights case studies which show the benefits of completely smokefree mental health units, where service users are provided support to stop smoking. This has resulted in:

  • better patient health
  • freeing up staff time
  • improved ward atmosphere

Alongside the physical health improvements, an increasing body of research is finding that mental health can be improved by stopping smoking. Contrary to the myth, evidence shows that stopping smoking is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, stress and improved positive mood and quality of life.

Evidence also shows that people who smoke often require higher doses of psychotropic medication as smoking increases the metabolism of these drugs.