Leicester Win!

Posted 23rd July 2015 by Dave Cross
Dame Sally Davies, the government’s chief medical officer, once named electronic cigarettes as one of the three biggest health challenges facing Britain. Under her watch the NHS has begun adopting procedures to ban vaping from all grounds including mental health wards. Always at the forefront of common sense, the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has come up with their own interpretation of how vaping should be treated for mental health patients.

Louise Ross, a member of the trust's smoke-free action team, was convinced by the ecig-inspired success she has seen while running the city’s Quit program. Constant lobbying and advocacy has convinced Trust members that vaping has a part to play in making Leicestershire a healthier county.

Faced with implementing a Trust-wide ban on smoking and vaping, Louise convinced the board that a pilot scheme could be carried out in the Beaumont Ward at the Bradgate mental health unit using e-cigarettes. This is just the progressive attitude we at POTV were calling for last week and, with luck, the progress made here will lead to a wider acceptance of vaping on mental health wards throughout the NHS in a similar fashion to other quit programs adopting ecigs.

"At the moment, patients, for example on the Bradgate unit, have smoking breaks and it almost becomes part of the habit and ex-smokers can end up smoking again,” Louise told the Leicester Mercury. “The breaks also mean staff have to supervise them and this leaves less time with patients."

Previously, POTV has covered how research is looking at how nicotine can help with a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Tourette’s and schizophrenia. We also explained how Professor John Britton, a supporter of vaping as a harm reduction approach, was involved with a report released by the Royal College of Physicians. In Smoking and Mental Health the team concluded that not only are people suffering from mental health problems more likely to smoke but also they are more probable to smoke more than other smokers.

Research has demonstrated that smokers with mental health problems find it the hardest to give up the weed. And, in the case of schizophrenia, upward of 90% of suffers smoke. Britton and his team concluded that encouraging these smokers to adopt a harm reduction program would bring a dual benefit of increasing the health of the individuals while reducing costs to the NHS.

A 2013 study involving Ricardo Polosa found that: “Even with intensive smoking cessation management programs specifically designed for patients with schizophrenia, quit rates are low. Although not formally regulated as a pharmaceutical product, the e-cigarette can help smokers with schizophrenia to reduce their cigarette consumption or remain abstinent and reduce the burden of smoking-related morbidity and mortality, particularly in schizophrenic patients who smoke.”

Research cited in The Guardian claims that smoking can directly increase the risk of schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis. Converting metal health wards to vaping environments could prove to have beneficial outcomes beyond those normally associated with quitting smoking.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker