PHE issue call to action on smoking and mental health
Public Health England have issued a ‘Health Matters’ guidance, which focuses on smoking among people living with a broad range of mental health conditions.
The guidance references the government’s Prevention Green Paper and how smoking rates remain stubbornly high among people living with mental health conditions. Tackling this inequality is an important challenge in the years ahead and bold action is required to both discourage people from starting to smoke in the first place and support smokers to quit.
The IBVTA are committed to supporting the many organisations across the country who may want to utilise vaping, but are not sure how, or what might be possible. Many are concerned about working with tobacco companies, and it is often a relief to find out there is an independent trade association which can link them with companies that have no connection to the tobacco industry.
The harm reduction potential and public health gains of vaping are hugely significant. It is encouraging then to see direct guidance from PHE on the use of e-cigarettes in supporting smoking cessation among people with mental health conditions.
According to a report by Ash, Progress towards smoke-free mental health services, although e-cigarettes are now widely used within acute mental health services, their use is restricted in a variety of way. These restrictions include where e-cigarettes could be used, and how they were provided to users. In addition, the report found that only 47% of surveyed trusts allowed rechargeable, non disposable e-cigarettes to be used.
In referencing recommendations from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and others, on the use and safety of e-cigarettes, PHE have collated a call to action for NHS Trusts, mental health practitioners, stop smoking services in community mental health settings;
- to ensure that staff receive education and training about evidence-based interventions, and that includes e-cigarettes.
- that mental health trusts should consider how best to use e-cigarettes in acute settings to reduce the harm of smoking.
- where e-cigarettes are not available on site, trusts should consider taking steps to make them available.’
- psychiatrists should advise patients who smoke that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than continued tobacco use and may help them to quit, particularly when used in conjunction with stop smoking treatments.
- all mental health provider organisations should ensure they have policies in place that facilitate the safe and effective use of e-cigarettes.