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Smoking and Mental Health

Sep 18
Compared to the general population, smokers are twice as likely to suffer a mental health disorder. Despite the high smoking rates, a very low percentage of smokers are begin assessed and treated for other mental health disorders. 

Many of us are aware of the relationship between smoking and other physical illnesses. While 20% of non-smokers suffer a mental disorder, the evidence is now clear that 40% of smokers suffer from at least one mental disorder. One study shows that people with psychiatric disorders consume 44.3% of all cigarettes smoked in this country.

Most of the time smoking is treated only as a substance use disorder. Very often other co-morbid mental health disorders are missed. Strategies that address smoking in mental illness, and mental illness among smokers would seem to be important directions for tobacco control. As most smokers with mental illness are not in contact with mental health services for their condition, strategies to address mental illness should be included as part of population health-based mental health and tobacco control efforts.

Despite the high smoking rates, studies of outpatient and hospital care of psychiatric patients reported that less than a quarter of outpatients with psychiatric diagnoses received counseling from their physicians aimed at smoking cessation, and in hospitals, only 1% of psychiatric inpatient smokers were assessed for smoking; none of the treatment plans for these patients addressed tobacco use.

Full Article Link: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco/tobacco-use-comorbidity

Dr. Sam Ozersky, MD

Sam is Mensante's founder and CEO. He speaks and writes extensively about the critical relationship between mental health and the workplace.