A medical facility that encourages smoking?!? Have we somehow traveled to Backwards World, where Republicans care about poor people and randy salmon spawn downstream? Surprisingly, no. For, while frowned upon in most houses of healing, cigarettes have long provided solace to patients in psychiatric hospitals. Cigarettes reward good behavior, provide incentives to comply with treatment, and often soothe the troubled minds of schizophrenics and other sufferers.
Now, however, anti-smoking activists and medical professionals have suggested that smoking in mental hospitals should go the way of smoking in. . . well, everywhere. What use treating the mind if the body will soon succumb to emphysema? Fair enough, but when it comes to the issue of whether or not to provide cigaretees to schizophrenics, I have to say I'm of two minds about it.
Seriously, though, I'm no great fan of the tobacconist's art. I've never smoked, and I derive no pleasure from the second-hand variety. I applaud most campaigns to eliminate smoking in public places, and I certainly understand the desire among medical professionals to ban smoking at hospitals, if for no other reason than the prevalence of oxygen tanks. At the same time, if one advocates (as I do) for the legalization of marijuana for medical reasons (I advocate full legalization, but that's another story)--if one feels people should alleviate their pain through whatever means available, as long as those means don't harm others--then how can I sanction the prohibition of smoking among those who actually do derive significant benefit from it?
Let these people smoke!