Violence decreased at British mental hospitals that instituted smoking bans, reports MedPage Today. 

Patients at the facilities were offered free access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), including e-cigarettes, to prevent nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Smoking bans have long been in place in most hospitals, but mental health inpatient facilities in Great Britain have only recently began enforcing comprehensive (indoor and outdoor) bans on cigarette smoking.

Robson told MedPage Today that before the cigarette smoking ban went into effect, staffers at the mental health facilities expressed concerns that it would lead to an escalation of violence.

“Cigarettes have traditionally been used as a tool to motivate patients to do things like get out of bed in the morning, take their medication or go to group. They have been an important currency on the ward between patients and patients and patients and staff,” Robson said.

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