Prejudice and prohibition
Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 12:33
Simon Clark

I couldn't help notice a tweet on the Forest timeline this morning.

It was posted by Prof Kevin Fenton, an advisor to Public Health England, retweeted by Clive Bates, former director of ASH, and 'liked' by Louise Ross, another hero of the vaping community.

It referred to a post published on the PHE blog that highlights the work of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in going 'smokefree' (sic):

A core part of their service is caring for people with mental health problems, a group who are much more likely to smoke, and to smoke more heavily, than the general population, leading to poorer physical health and lower life expectancy.

Louise Ross, Stop Smoking Service Manager, said:

"The patients understood why the wards would become smokefree, but they wanted to use e-cigarettes as a way to manage their nicotine needs. Our policy was written to reflect their views, and every effort has been made to help patients, staff and visitors see this as a positive step forward.

“Vaping is allowed in the grounds, and smoking is not [my emphasis]. This helps to manage nicotine needs while at the same time giving people a chance to try a far less harmful way of using nicotine than by smoking. Nicotine replacement products are also available through the pharmacy on site."

In other words, the Trust's pro-vaping policy is based primarily on a draconian measure that prohibits smoking inside and outside the building.

Thanks to this heavy-handed (some would say authoritarian) measure vulnerable patients have just two options - to quit smoking altogether or switch to e-cigarettes that they may not like or feel comfortable using (see The Pleasure of Smoking: The Views of Confirmed Smokers).

That sounds more like coercion to me but what do you expect when the pro-vaping movement is increasingly being driven by anti-smoking campaigners, many of them current or former employees of the tobacco control industry.

Full post: How one mental health Trust in Leicestershire is using e-cigarettes as a tool to go smokefree (PHE).

Vapers In Power, a group that used to oppose outdoor smoking bans, has also retweeted Prof Fenton's approving tweet.

Either VIP has changed its policy or they didn't bother reading the small print. Either way they have effectively endorsed a ban on smoking in the grounds of mental health units.

To understand what that means to some mental health patients read this fascinating transcript.

Good to see this practical example of #e-cigs helping smokers quit --potential for other health and care settings.

— Kevin Fenton (@ProfKevinFenton) July 29, 2017
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