A world-class psychiatry organization is finally coming out publicly to endorse vaping as not only a tobacco harm reduction tool but as a safe and effective smoking cessation treatment. Current statistics show that people suffering from mental health and personality disorders tend to smoke in larger numbers than the general population. They also tend to smoke more frequently.
According to Schizophrenia.com, nearly 90 percent of individuals suffering from this disorder smoke. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that mental health patients smoke at least 40 percent of all cigarettes sold in the United States. While medical personal and counselors are well aware of the health consequences of smoking, they are somewhat undecided as to how best to offer professional guidance and support to their smoking patients.
Should they encourage their patients to quit smoking, perhaps unintentionally triggering symptoms of their mental disorder from the added stress and anxiety? Or should they simply look the other way and pretend that it is not happening?
MHSP: ‘Vaping is ‘significantly safer than smoking’
In a recently published statement, officials from the Mental Health & Smoking Partnership (MHSP) in Great Britain state their opinion that vaping should be encouraged for smoking patients suffering from mental disorders. They also identify that these patients usually require slightly higher doses of nicotine and at longer durations than the average vaper if the cigarette-replacement therapy is to be successful.
“When appropriately tailored these interventions are also effective for people with mental health conditions. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is effective, but is likely to be required in high doses, for longer durations and with more intensive behavioural support than in the general population of smokers. Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.”
MHSP representatives also claim that while smoking in Great Britain is rapidly declining among the general population, smoking among mental health patients is rising at an alarming rate. The psychiatric organization also states that people suffering from mental disorders have a shortened average lifespan of about twenty years, and many of these deaths can be directly attributed to smoking-related illnesses. Vaping can not only add years to their lives, it can greatly improve the quality of their day-to-day lives, as well.
“Smoking is around twice as common among people with mental health conditions as in the general population. Over the last 20 years smoking rates among the general population have declined steadily but smoking rates have barely changed among people with a mental health condition. People with mental health conditions die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population and smoking is the single largest reason for this shocking difference.”
The MHSP statement is further endorsed by several additional medical groups, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Cancer Research UK, and Public Health England. The latter is the organization responsible for the highly acclaimed British research documenting that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than smoking. The MHSP press release entitled Effect of implementation of a smoke-free policy on physical violence in a psychiatric inpatient setting: an interrupted time series analysis is available on The Lancet Psychiatry website.