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Smoking rate much higher for mentally ill, report says

NEED TO KNOW
  • As a result of the findings, the CDC wants a ban on smoking at mental health facilities
  • CDC’s director calls the smoking rate among the mentally ill population a 'serious problem'
Smoking rate much higher for mentally ill, report says

According to new research, people with some form of mental illness are much more likely to smoke than those who do not have the condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued the report, citing the smoking rate is 70 percent higher for the mentally ill.

As a result of the findings, the CDC wants a ban on smoking at mental health facilities and recommends that tobacco not be available for purchase at such facilities.

The CDC’s director calls the smoking rate among the mentally ill population a “serious problem”.

According to the CDC:

-40% of adult men with mental illness smoke

-34% of adult women with mental illness smoke

Why is this? “It’s a complicated problem,” says HLN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky. “Nicotine receptors are uniquely associated with certain illnesses.” Some with schizophrenia are known, Dr. Drew says, to smoke eight to 10 packs a day. “Tobacco is a way to regulate emotions,” he says. Users are “gratified” by smoking.

Indeed, some patients at clinics and treatment centers are rewarded with cigarettes for good behavior according to the CDC. The report says smoking may be a way to mitigate the side effects of medication.

The Journal of the American Medical Association notes that almost half of all cigarettes in America are smoked by those with mental illness or substance abuse issues.

The CDC defines mental illness as a “diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, other than a developmental or substance abuse disorder”.

So, does this mean that people who smoke suffer from some form of mental illness or are predisposed to mental illness? In a word, no.

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