Friday, February 29, 2008

Smoking for Sanity's Sake

Mental health patients at Rampton Secure Hospital in the UK are facing a ban on smoking effective on July 1st 2008, and this is driving them mad. The ban was initiated by Nottinghamshire Health Care NHS Trust, implementing a law prohibiting smoking in all enclosed public places. The move is being criticized for violation of human rights that could further destabilize the mentally unstable by withdrawing their coping mechanism. Smoking is a vital crutch of 70% of mental health patients. Removing this would create a serious imbalance and exacerbate their distressed conditions. In a sense, the ban will make them healthier to live longer, but the added imbalance would lead them to commit suicide.

The irony is that prisons are exempt from the ban. Mental health patients cannot even walk outside the yard to smoke while prisoners can smoke in and out of their cells. One is for treatment while the other is for punishment, yet the mentally unstable will endure more punishment in the process. Both prison and hospital institutions are homes where patients and inmates live. It therefore violates their right to privacy and family life. There is something about the logic of the ban and its implementation in public enclosed locations that does not distinguish a temporary transient stay from several months or years of confinement. Even in the aspect of confinement, its narrow view of hospital is discriminatory from the general idea of prison detention. It's insane!

The concept of health care in general hospitals where smoking is banned is different in a mental health institution. Here, what is being addressed is mental stability,
and smoking provides that, at least for short periods. Similar to the medication these hospitals provide, some are for stress attacks that could stabilize patients for the time being. Apparently, the implementors are losing their minds about imposing a smoking ban in their hospitals. They even announced assistance to help smoking patients to quit. How very thoughtful. Patients will file cases in court, but their disadvantage would be the believability of their testimony. They can perhaps select an "eccentric judge" to hear their plea, but the hospital lawyers may protest and have the judge confined with the patients. There he can hear their case for an extended period. It's not a win situation. What do these hospital health care authorities expect the mental patients to do, go crazy?



Anonymous said...

Since when have Tobacco Nazis worried about the impact of bans? They don't care what your problem is as long as its not smoking,
Wait until their power is consolidated.

tom said...

Do the math. Someone do the math. Often...ok all the time systems "leaders" pawn sh...stuff off on other system "leaders" as their problem. It's a great big game of moving stuff from one segment to the other...In this case, how many more mental patients will end up behind bars do ya think? Hmmm???? I don't know about the UK, but here in the States we already have too many mental problems clogging our criminal digs!!!!


Tapline said...

Brad, This decision by the Brits is a cruel thing to do . This is a segment of society that have no rights. The only thng they have to look forward to is a smoke. Now they take that away cruel the name of big brother.......stay well...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Anonymous,

I agree with that observation. They'd rather you smoke till you die rather than stop to live longer. They would always deny the linkages between smoking and all those illnesses that have been backed up by studies. They can always present studies and counter-arguments of their own. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

This is disturbing. What you're leading to is that to reduce the costs incurred in health care, the patients are better of set free,commit a crime, and then be thrown in prison, because it's cheaper.

And all these mentally unstable patients will be hardened criminals or serial killers by the time they get out, to sow havoc in quiet communities. This is terrible.

All along I thought such cases were overlooked or inadvertent - you're saying it's an inexpensive transfer! Thanks for the revelation. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

Considering what Tommy said above, I'm now suspicious of this ban. It could be a test case to exercise an option to just let these patients drift to the penitentiary to reduce costs of caring for them.

These people might check themselves out through their relatives and then land in jail for a crime they would commit while under stress.
They even had the gall to say that they will provide assistance to those who would like to quit smoking. It is mean and cruel. You take care too Tap. --Durano, done!

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