Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Smoking Prevalence High in American Adults With Mental Illness

A report released on Feb. 5 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that smoking rates are higher among American adults with some type of mental health problem.

According to a Vital Signs report, 36 percent of adults with mental illness are cigarette smokers, compared with only 21 percent of adults who do not have mental illness.

Among adults with mental illness, smoking prevalence is especially high among younger adults, American Indians and Alaska Natives, those living below the poverty line, and those with lower levels of education. Differences were also observed across states, with prevalence ranging from 18.2 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent in West Virginia.

“Smokers with mental illness, like other smokers, want to quit and can quit,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Stop-smoking treatments work-and it’s important to make them more available to all people who want to quit.”

The report showed there are about 45.7 million adults in the United States that have some form of mental illness. On average, adult smokers with mental health issues smoke at least 331 cigarettes per month, compared to the 310 cigarettes that people with no mental illness smoke. Adult smokers with mental illness were also found to be less likely to quit smoking.

“Special efforts are needed to raise awareness about the burden of smoking among people with mental illness and to monitor progress in addressing this disparity,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.

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