Viewpoint: No smoking in mental hospitals

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Under the guise of making people healthier, our state bureaucrats have decreed that in January, smoking will be illegal in Georgia's seven state-run mental hospitals.

Kicking the habit certainly brings physical health benefits, but folks in mental hospitals aren't there because of their physical health. They are there because of their mental and emotional health.

How will the vital mental and emotional components of a human being be helped by taking away one of the few familiar comforts that people with severe mental problems have?

Many smokers use cigarettes as a crutch, and mental patients are likely to need a crutch more than most. When they can't light up, what will they turn to for some comfort?


After the state follows through on its smoke ban, can we expect to see patients who are more stressed than ever, with twenty or thirty extra pounds to carry?

Smokers have no one to stand up for them, we should all remember that tobacco is still legal, and the source of substantial income and livelihoods in our state.

And what funds the S-CHIP children's insurance program? Taxes on tobacco.

If the state is really serious about eradicating smoking, it ought to have the courage to just go ahead and make tobacco illegal, and say goodbye to all the money it makes from its sale.

And leave mental patients to their smokes. Their lives are tough enough, no doubt.

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