Tobacco control and smoking

People with mental health conditions

Smoking is around twice as common among people with mental health conditions, and more so in those with more severe disease.  In the UK, 40% of tobacco consumption is by people with mental health conditions with those smoking are more likely to be extremely heavy smokers resulting in greater levels of smoking related disability.  Smoking is also associated with 50% increase in the risk of mental health problems, whilst stopping is linked to improvements in mental health (1)

Smoking is the biggest causative factor of the health inequalities seen among people with mental illness.  People with schizophrenia die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population and are ten times more likely to die from respiratory disease; mostly due to the high rates of smoking (2)

People with mental health conditions are no less likely to want to quit smoking, but they expect to find it more difficult and are less likely to succeed than the general population.

Beyond the physical health gains that would be expected, mental health service users who quit smoking are likely to see improvements in their mood and a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Doses of many psychiatric medications are likely to be reduced; with a concomitant reduction in side effects.

References


Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016