Smoke Free WA Health policy and mental health exemptions

Information for staff

The OD 0414/13 Smoke Free WA Health System Policy (external site) was introduced in January 2008.

This policy aims to protect and improve the wellbeing of WA Health staff, patients, visitors and contractors from the dangers of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

In January 2013 an amendment was made to include a partial exemption for involuntary adult mental health inpatients, who in certain circumstances, may be exempted from specific aspects of the Smoke Free WA Health System Policy.

When does the exemption apply?

The exemption will only apply to involuntary mental health in-patients who are aged 18 and over.

The decision to smoke rests with the patient, provided it does not interfere with their treatment regime and/or safe operation of the service.

Read further information about the criteria that must be satisfied to qualify for exemption.

WA Health mental health service facilities will develop site-specific protocols and instructions to assist with implementation at a local level.

How can staff support mental health patients?

To support mental health patients to quit smoking or to manage their nicotine dependency our hospitals and health services provide access to nicotine replacement therapy, resources and courses.

Smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal plans are included in the Mental Health Smoking Assessment Checklist (PDF 1.5MB) and are useful tools to help patients to quit smoking.


Staff are encouraged to achieve competency in delivering smoking cessation brief advice.

Brief Advice Training – Health Services (external site) is a self- paced, 30-minute online package for WA Health staff.

The training was originally developed by Quit Victoria and Alfred Health, in partnership with health services in Victoria. It has been contextualised for use in WA in collaboration with Cancer Council WA and the Department of Health, and aims to equip WA Health staff with the skills, confidence and knowledge to provide smoking cessation brief advice to patients.

Mental health smoke-free policy guidelines

Several resources have been developed to help Mental Health Services implement the Smoke Free Policy partial exemption and to help staff support people with mental illness to quit smoking and manage their withdrawal symptoms.

WA Mental Health Smoking Assessment Clinical Tools

The smoking assessment checklist

The Mental Health Smoking Assessment Checklist (PDF 1.5MB) should be completed by the mental health practitioner for every patient who smokes and is admitted to a mental health service.

The checklist enables the practitioner to assess and document whether a mental health exemption has been made. The checklist should be kept with your patient’s file.

Nicotine Withdrawal Management Plan

The Nicotine Withdrawal Management Plan (PDF 314 KB) is used by healthcare professionals to dispense ongoing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

The plan is used to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms when a patient is unable to access a designated smoking area or is otherwise unable to smoke.

Cessation Plan

If a patient wishes to stop smoking, the mental health practitioner should fill out a cessation plan in consultation with the patient for the patient to keep.

A cessation plan can be found on p6 of the Mental Health Smoking Assessment Checklist (PDF 1.5MB).

Other useful information and links are available at:

Patients should be made aware that these supports are available on discharge.

More information

Last reviewed: 22-06-2020
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