The Mental Health & Smoking partnership has called for more to be done to help smokers with mental health conditions quit. The group has also encouraged increased accessibility to e-cigarettes and other smoking cessation products.
In the recent Statement on Electronic Cigarettes, the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership stressed that smoking still remains “part of the culture in too many mental health settings”. Co-chair of the partnership, Professor Ann McNeill highlighted the fact that people with a mental health condition are more than twice as likely to smoke as the general population.
“This is a great inequality leading to early death and years of chronic illness for many,” she said. “E-cigarettes provide a new opportunity for people to move away from smoking and avoid the terrible burden of death and disease it causes.”
The partnership aims to reduce smoking rates among people with mental health conditions to 5% by 2035. At present, the smoking rates for this group have remain unchanged over the last 20 years, despite a steady decline in smoking rates for the general population.
Alyssa Best, Cancer Research UK’s policy adviser, explained that the government has committed to tackling the high smoking rates among people with mental health conditions, outlining their steps in the Tobacco Control Plan for England.
“E-cigarettes offer another opportunity for smokers with mental health conditions that haven’t been able to stop using other methods. They should be offered as a legitimate method of quitting across all mental health settings,” she said.
It is hoped that the increased accessibility of e-cigarettes to those with mental health problems will help encourage more people to quit and help support mental health staff in creating consistent policies across mental health settings.