Another reason why vaping should be universally adopted as a harm reduction tool is the fact that those who suffer from mental health problems have a use for nicotine. Studies have shown that the effects of nicotine help fight the symptoms of depression, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, ADD, and dementia.
This is believed to be the result of nicotine stimulating the brain to release pleasure chemicals – the same effect smokers and vapers get.
In his report published by the Royal College of Physicians, Professor John Britton and his team found that people with mental health problems are more probable to smoke. Additionally, they are also likely to smoke more compared to other smokers without mental health issues. In schizophrenia patients, more than 90% of sufferers smoke.
Out of all mental health patients, about 11% are ex-smokers while 10% are non-smokers.
Because of these statistics, Britton and his team recommend that these smokers should adopt a harm reduction program so that patients can receive the benefits of nicotine without the harmful effects of smoking.
In an article in the Guardian about e-cigarettes and mental health, it says, “Although cigarettes may relieve symptoms of mental disorders, they also increase mortality rates – a report from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors showed that patients in psychiatric hospitals will on average die 25 years earlier than the general population. Many factors contribute to this difference, but diseases caused by smoking may account for part of it.”
The Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts, Professor Peter Hajek, adds, “Some wards give out nicotine replacements, such as patches, so considering e-cigarettes in the same light would make sense. Giving psychiatric patients access to e-cigarettes, particularly on closed wards, is definitely something to consider.”
To further strengthen the case for e-cigarettes, research made by the University of Catania found that vaping reduced cigarette smoking among schizophrenic patients and no adverse reactions were observed regarding their condition. Researchers found no elevated symptoms and the conclude that e-cigs were just as effective as traditional cigarettes when used as a symptom management tool.