Public Health England (PHE) has released advice for the NHS on vaping as a way to reduce smoking rates among mental health patients.
Although smoking rates are currently at a historic low at 14.4 percent, the rate among hospital patients remains high at 25 percent and 40 percent among severe mental health patients.
PHE has suggested that vaping could be a solution for those looking to quit smoking or reduce their nicotine intake.
“In England, 1 in 3 cigarettes is smoked by a person with a mental health condition, so supporting them to stop smoking must be the overriding priority.
“While e-cigarettes offer an effective route to stopping smoking, there are still some risks associated with their use. But evidence suggests they are far less harmful than smoking.”Public Health England
The Smoking and Mental Health Partnership reports that 1 in 5 mental health trusts do not have smoke-free policies in place despite the high smoking rate.
PHE believes that mental health trusts should make it easier for smokers to use e-cigarettes:
“To help smokers to stop smoking and stay smoke-free, a more enabling approach to vaping should be considered to make it an easier choice than smoking.
“Vapers should not be required to use the same space as smokers, as this could undermine their ability to quit and stay smokefree.”
Premature mortality rates are 3 times higher for people with mental health conditions with smoking listed as the leading cause.