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Government tortures mental patients

Government tortures mental patients

A very high percentage of inmates in our federal, state, and county jails are mentally defective, insane, or both. (Though many, I hasten to add, are perfectly sane but dared to challenge authority. Income tax protesters come to mind.) In any case, most of them, whether in a real jail or in a mental institution, have only a few things to live for: TV, coffee, candy, erotic dreams and smoking.

But now, almost all of these lockups have made the transition to nonsmoking facilities–and in the process, they’ve increased the level of murder and mayhem. Yes, the two are undeniably linked. In order to put two and two together, though, you have to understand the positive effects that smoking has on mental patients.

For mental patients, smoking isn’t an addiction–it’s a form of self-medication. Smoking enhances concentration, increases alertness, and improves memory. It can reduce anxiety and help you relax. It can help improve social interaction. It can even help reduce hallucinations.

It’s obvious by the percentage of mental patients who smoke that they “get it.” They know that this form of self-medication is just as good as (or better than) anything else out there.

These are things I’ve known for quite some time (in fact, I wrote about them in my book, The Health Benefits of Tobacco), but I recently got a letter from “Steve” in Canada, who brought the whole subject to life again. Steve had some perceptive observations on Canada’s “treatment” of mental patients.

He said, “In Canada, mental ‘institutions’ no longer allow patients to smoke inside. These patients are literally being tortured by being deprived of their very important self-medication. Several years ago, there was a rash of stories of mental patients who committed suicide or froze to death while sneaking a few puffs outside during winter in violation of the rules of not being allowed to smoke inside nor allowed to be outside. I have no doubt the problem has only gotten worse, even though the stories have since stopped.”

Despite the obvious benefits of their smoking, people with mental illnesses are still “encouraged” to quit. It makes no sense to me.

This whole debacle makes me think of a story about my friend’s grandmother. At the time of grandma’s first (and only) visit to a doctor, she was pushing close to 100 years old–and she was in perfect health. No symptoms of disease whatsoever. Still, her children thought she needed a “checkup.”

In the end, the only advice the doctor could give her was to stop smoking and cut back on coffee. Elderly people are usually told by their doctors to quit smoking.

Why? This woman had been rolling her own cigars for over 50 years.

To keep the peace, she agreed to cut back on the number of cigars she smoked daily. And being true to her word, she reduced her cigar intake to two a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. What she didn’t tell the doctor (or her children) was that each of her new stogies was 10 inches long and as fat as a Polish sausage!

She lived to the ripe old age of 106.

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