Petition against forced cessation of smoking for patients confined involuntarily in psychiatric wards and services sign now


We believe that total bans on smoking in psychiatric wards and rehabilitation units, (even in a supervised area which is safe and free from secondary passive smoke inhalation) are unjust, discriminatory and inappropriate.

We understand that smoking is unhealthy, and many of us who smoke have tried to give up and may try again when the time is right for us. However we believe that during an active psychiatric illness is NOT the right time, as it may lead to further distress and agitation. It may also discourage people from seeking help from a psychiatric service if they know the price having to stop smoking, leading to increased illness.

We believe that while tobacco is legal, consumers of mental health services should have the same right to smoke in the place of their residence as other Australians, even Australians in prison. Many consumers are required against their will to stay in psychiatric wards and units, unlike patients in non-psychiatric wards, sometimes for months and years, and many of these consumers are allowed to leave the ward freely, meaning that consumers cannot smoke at home or anywhere.

Being forced to stop smoking against your will is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in our opinion, for people already under stress, as well as being ineffective in encouraging permanent quitting. Many well staff and managers find stopping smoking too difficult.

We ask for immediate application of the exemptions available under the law for psychiatric inpatient and rehabilitation services, to allow smoking in a safe environment which protects the health of non-smokers; so that consumers of psychiatric services can have the same rights as other Australians.

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Sheila MezaBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
Victoria (Australia) Mental Health Services

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