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Smoking more common among adults with mental illness

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 18, 2013

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The smoking rate is 70% higher among U.S. adults with some form of mental illness than in adults with no mental health condition, said a study published in the Feb. 8 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The journal is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From 2009-11, an annual average of 19.9% of adults 18 and older had any form of mental illness, the study said. A mental illness is defined as having a behavioral, emotional or mental disorder in the past year, according to the CDC. Developmental and substance use disorders were not included in that definition.

Among adults identified as having any mental illness, 36.1% were current cigarette smokers, compared with 21.4% of those without a mental health condition, data show. Current smoking was defined as smoking all or part of a cigarette within 30 days before the interview. Smoking prevalence among those with any mental illness was highest in men, adults younger than 45 and those living below the poverty level (link).

For the study, researchers examined data on 138,000 adults who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, 2010 or 2011.

Study authors recommend extending proven, population-based smoking prevention strategies to people with mental illness, including implementing tobacco-free campus policies in mental health facilities.

Researchers also encourage primary care doctors and mental health professionals to screen patients routinely for tobacco use and offer evidence-based cessation treatments.

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