Smoking and Mental Health

Cigarette smoking continues to remain at a high rate among individuals with mental illness.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. It has been well documented that people with mental illness smoke at greater rates than the overall population. It can be said that a major factor contributing to people with serious mental illness dying much younger than people without mental illness is due to this increased smoking rate.

Studies have shown that those with a mental illness identify themselves as smokers at 2 to 3 times the rate compared to those without a psychiatric disorder.

While there may be many contributing factors, one factor may be limited treatment available to help quit smoking in psychiatric facilities. Substantial previous research has shown that smoking cessation efforts can be effective for people with mental illness. New guidelines from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide incentives for hospitals to provide smoking cessation treatment to all patients.