Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Heavy Smoking More Likely to Occur in Adults with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse Disorder

Tobacco use among adults is attributed to a number of risk factors, including family history. However, a new report by the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that adults with any mental illness or who have had substance abuse disorders are more likely to smoke and engage in heavy smoking.

The report defines any mental illness (AMI) as any diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder other than a substance abuse disorder. Whereas, substance abuse disorder (SUD) is defined as dependence on or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs.

On an average day, adults aged 18 and older smoked 588 million cigarettes. But adults with AMI or SUD account for 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked by the adult population.

In terms of cigarette smoking rates, 38.3 percent of adults experiencing mental illness or substance use disorders were current smokers, versus the 19.7 percent of those adults without these conditions.

Given the health issues associated with cigarette smoking, the report imparts the need to focus on smoking prevention for adults with AMI or SUD to help them quit smoking .

“It has long been a public health priority to develop effective smoking prevention and cessation programs,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, said in a news release. “This report highlights a clear disparity. It shows that people dealing with mental illness or substance abuse issues smoke more and are less likely to quit. We need to continue to strengthen efforts to figure out what works to reduce and prevent smoking for people with mental health conditions.”

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