Increasingly, healthcare facilities are adopting voluntary 100% smoke-free campus policies, reinforcing their steadfast mission to promoting and protecting health. These policies not only support each facility’s mission, but also assist with:
- Community, employee, and patient cessation efforts
- Lowering maintenance costs
- Increasing worker productivity
Aside from creating an environment that promotes health and healing for employees and patients alike, it is important for mental health facilities to address the connection between mental illness and smoking itself: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 44.3 percent of all cigarettes in America are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. This means that people living with mental illness are about twice as likely to smoke as other persons.
Some patients use cigarette smoking as a coping mechanism or way to soothe their cravings. For others, smoking is part of a social norm, a way to ‘fit in.’ In some cases, patients who live with mental illness actually start smoking in a hospital or group-living setting. These examples help illustrate how the mental health culture needs to move forward to reduce the tie between socialization and smoking—a good place to start is at treatment facilities themselves.
The Arkansas Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (TPCP) can help your facility plan, develop and implement a successful program or tobacco-free policy. TPCP can also help you identify local tobacco-free recovery groups or implement your own. For resources, educational materials, and more information related to training and outreach, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.