Smoke-free policies in the psychiatric population on the ward and beyond: A discussion paper
Healthcare facilities from a number of countries have or are in the process of implementing smoke-free policies as part of their public health agenda and tobacco control strategy. Their main intent is to prevent the harmful effects of environmental tobacco smoke on employees and patients. However, these protection policies are often implemented before taking into account the specific needs of patients in psychiatric facilities and are clouded by a lack of knowledge, myths and misconceptions held by a variety of stakeholders. Consequently, the implementation of smoke-free policies tends to result in unintended and unfavourable consequences for this aggregate. Patients are forced to abstain from tobacco use during their hospitalization but have few options to address their dependence upon discharge. The development and implementation of such policies should not occur in isolation. It requires thoughtful consideration of the needs of the affected population. Recommendations are presented on the role of nurses in lobbying for policy changes. As well as strategies for policy makers and administrators that should accompany such a policy in psychiatry.