Mental health patients smoke more than three times as much as the general population, a Public Health England (PHE) and NHS survey of 105 care units suggests.

Smoking can increase depression and anxiety and reduce the effectiveness of medication by up to 50%, experts warn. PHE wants all mental-health hospitals to be smoke-free zones.

The PHE survey suggests 64% of mental-health patients are addicted to tobacco — compared with 18% of the general population, although 9% of the units are already completely smoke-free.

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It is publishing new guidance to help medium- and low-security mental-health units implement National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommendations that all NHS-funded hospitals should provide stop-smoking services.

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