Starting off the year smoke free

Four women and three men stand in front of a sign on a wall that reads 'Welcome to Fremantle Hospital - Thank you for not smoking'
Pictured left to right: Susan Spencer-Jones, Ruth Aspinall, Lynn Warren, Jane Murdock, Richard Crane, Gary Schipper and Azam Edoo
January 14, 2021

Mental Health services at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG), have started the New Year totally smoke free with the exemption that has allowed patients to smoke extinguished on 4 January 2021.

Removing the exemption means that Mental Health is now smoke free, the same as all other areas of the hospitals.

Patients are being supported with free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and brief intervention counselling, group activities and referral to relevant support services. Positive feedback is being received from patients and staff alike.

Director, Mental Health Services at FSFHG Lynn Warren said going smoke free had gone smoothly.

“We’ve already had a patient who came to the service as a smoker and discharged having both quit smoking and improved mental health,” Lynn said.

“There have been no negative issues noted by security, and we’ve noticed with patients no longer smoking onsite, there is an increase attendance at group activities.”

Lynn said removing the exemption showed that health and wellbeing was valued for all patients.

“The physical health of mentally unwell patients is as important as all other patients. A recent patient audit showed up to 60 percent of our mental health patients were smokers, and removing the smoking exemption was critical to protecting their health and wellbeing.”

The removal of the exemption is as an important step toward closing the 10 to 20 year mortality gap for those who experience mental illness, of which smoking is the largest contributor. People who experience mental illness are twice as likely to smoke as the general population.

Ensuring all services are smoke free is also important to prevent the exposure of other patients, staff and visitors to environmental tobacco smoke.

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