We are writing to express concern over mental health and smoking. Although the rates of smoking have declined, smoking among those with mental illness has increased. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), because many people with mental illness smoke, “… many of them will get sick and die early from smoking.”
About 20 percent of the U.S. population has a mental health disorder during a given year. Of those with a mental health disorder, over 40 percent use tobacco. Recent research from the CDC has shown that like other smokers, adults with mental illness would like to quit and reap the benefits of kicking the habit.
According to the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco, smokers with mental illness have attempted to quit numerous times with no success. Similar to other smokers, smokers with a mental illness are able to quit and have a better chance at succeeding when they have access to “proven stop-smoking treatments” as identified by the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center.
However, those with a mental illness are more likely to be living under stressful conditions, be low income and lack access to health insurance and healthcare. These factors make it difficult to quit. Moreover, what adds to the stressor of quitting is the proven direct marketing of tobacco products to those with a mental illness.
The effects of smoking affect all of us, whether we ourselves are smokers or not. In order to reduce those effects as well as reduce smoking among those with mental illness, we must support our local mental health and tobacco- control programs in their efforts to reduce tobacco use, as well as encouraging state mental health and addiction agencies to put in place smoking cessation programs and tobacco-free campuses.
If you would like assistance quitting, please call the California Smokers Helpline at: 1-800- No-Butts. If you would like further assistance please call Behavioral health at: 675-3508 or Madera County Tobacco Control at: 675-7893.
Madera County Tobacco Control