Taking action on smoking and health
New guidance materials for community-based mental health services (launched today, March 21st) set out the extent to which smoking damages both mental and physical health. But rather than call for further restrictions or policies, the IMPACT project provides a framework for staff to talk to clients about their needs, and work with them to seek less harmful coping mechanisms.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland produced the guidance based on the latest research evidence, and widespread consultation with service managers, staff and clients. Key findings include:
- One third of all tobacco is used by people with mental health problems, the main reason why this group are dying 10-20 years earlier than the general population
- People with mental health issues are as likely to want to stop smoking as anyone else, but those taking part in the consultation called for discussion and support to help find the right solution for their individual needs
- Those consulted were particularly concerned to hear that smoking interferes with medications so that higher doses are required, with the risk of increased side effects
In response ASH Scotland has developed the AID framework – which stands for Ask, Inform, Discuss. In each section the guidance sets out how staff can talk to clients about their current situation, give them the best available information and advice, then work with the client to consider what approach will work best for them.
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said:
“We’ve learned so much in the process of developing this guidance. We know the harm smoking causes to people with mental health problems, and now it is clear that most of them want to stop and when they manage to do so both their mental and physical health improve.
“During our consultation we heard strong views that people don’t want to be told what to do, but neither do they want to keep smoking. We’ve based this new guidance on the clear desire for a conversation that engages with people’s needs and looks for a solution that will work for them individually.”
The guidance sets out how the Scottish Government’s ten-year Mental Health Strategy for Scotland will make it clear that improving the physical wellbeing of people living with mental health issues should be a national priority.
For further information, or to obtain a copy of the new guidance, contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or 07776 142299 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland is the national charity working to reduce the harm and inequality caused by tobacco use. See www.ashscotland.org.uk
For further information on the IMPACT (Improving Mental and Physical health, Achieving Cessation Targets) project, including information on the new guidance and on the links between smoking and mental health, see www.impact.scot
The IMPACT project is funded by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation. See www.elhf.co.uk
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.