TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The union representing more than 2000
workers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is asking their
employer to step back from a controversial anti-smoking policy.
"Why is CAMH trying to cure patients of an addiction they didn't come
there for?" asks Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the
130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
The union says denying patients access to their cigarettes - even if
they plan to smoke them off of CAMH's property - is going too far and
places both patients and staff at risk during forced addiction
CAMH has instituted a new policy where tobacco products can no longer be
stored in lockers at the hospital site. Staff have been sent a memo
where they are told to either mail the cigarettes back to the patient's
homes, store them (presumably until discharge) or destroy them.
"CAMH patients often arrive at the hospital after one of the worst
periods in their lives," says Thomas. "It strikes us as cruel to also
force them to go through nicotine withdrawal while being treated for an
The union president says most of us would not choose the most stressful
times of our lives to undertake smoking cessation. "Why is it different
for those facing a mental illness?"
For further information:
Contact Rick Janson at 416-443-8888 ext. 8383 or by cell - 416-525-3324.