Thursday, October 31, 2013

Foundation spearheading effort to curb smoking among the mentally ill

 — Anti-smoking campaigns have generally succeeded in educating Americans about the hazards of tobacco use, experts say. Smoking prevalence has declined by almost half in the last 50 years as a result.
But it remains stubbornly high among one group – persons with severe and persistent mental illness. Smoking rates for the mentally ill are more than double those in the general population, according to a commentary published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, co-authored by Jeffrey Willett, vice president for programs at the Kansas Health Foundation.
“The paper is really a call to action to both the public health and the mental health communities,” Willett told KHI News Service. “There is recognition that there are high rates of tobacco use among people with serious mental illness, but there is honestly not enough being done to address the problem.”
Courtesy Kansas Health Foundation
Jeffrey Willett
Persons with serious mental illness on average die 25 years earlier than people in the general population due primarily to smoking- and obesity-related diseases, Willett said.
“This population is rapidly becoming the last frontier (in the effort to reduce smoking),” he said. “In, Kansas, roughly one-third of all cigarettes smoked are smoked by people with mental illness.”
Nationally, 16 million adults with mental illness are smokers. Approximately 80 percent of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia smoke. The rate exceeds 60 percent among those with bipolar disorder.

Read the entire article here:

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