Smoking rates higher among the mentally ill

Utah has the lowest smoking rate for people with mental illness, while West Virginia has the highest, according to a new study.

By Jason Notte Feb 7, 2013 11:56AM
Credit: Vicente Alfonso/Getty Images
Caption: A hand and a cigaretteThe government's identified one of the tobacco industry's key demographics -- and cigarette makers would be wise to nod, say "that's nice" and walk away.


According to a report issued Tuesday by both the Centers of Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, people with mental illness are 70% more likely to smoke than those without. The report shows that 36% of adults with mental illness smoke, compared to just 21% of people without mental illness.


There are about 46 million adults with mental illness in the United States. According to the report, those same adults are less likely to quit smoking once they've started and consume nearly a third of the cigarettes sold in the U.S.


While 34% of women with mental illness smoke, the problem is a bit more acute for the 40% of men with mental illness who do the same. The report links poverty to increased smoking among all demographics, but it's a far greater issue for those with mental illness. While 33% of those without mental illness living below the poverty line smoke, that percentage jumps to 48% once mental illness is a factor.


So what's the key difference? Though the report didn't include patients in psychiatric hospitals, it noted that smoking is far more normalized at mental health facilities than in other establishments. Patients there are also more likely to know people who smoke and to receive cigarettes as a reward for good behavior. Once people with mental illness start smoking, they find that it takes the edge off their medication's negative side effects and they continue to use cigarettes to keep symptoms under control.


Unfortunately, the doctors behind the report found that mental illness also makes smokers a lot less capable of handling withdrawal symptoms and reduces their desire to quit. This contributes to corresponding rates of mental illness and overall smoking in certain states. Utah, for example, had the lowest rate of smoking among people with mental illness at 18.1%. Meanwhile, West Virginia had the highest rate at 48.7%.


More on moneyNOW


147Comments
Feb 7, 2013 4:10PM
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so if i go on a shooting spree it's because i smoke?
Feb 7, 2013 4:08PM
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I bet FL and TX  lead the country in tobacco sales.
Feb 7, 2013 4:08PM
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i know what to do. Lets put all smokers,queers, and liberals in camps. these death camps can be conveniently located near a train station close to you. Did I say Death Camps?, I meant Happy camps. where there is always fresh air and lots of exercise. and a kind caring staff of helpful people to tend to their every need. 
Feb 7, 2013 4:07PM
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Duh...I have visited a number of hospitals for psychiatric patients and have long noted that I cannot remember any person involuntarily committed for mental illness who did not smoke. 
Feb 7, 2013 4:05PM
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Guess that "splains" it.  I'm in the process of quitting and it's making me mentally ill!
Feb 7, 2013 4:02PM
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Duh...no ****.  With the mentally ill, they naturally have higher concerns or different focuses than their personal physical health.  If you are mentally ill, taking good personal care or concern of yourself is usually not the highest daily priority as with the more mentally stable.  This is a no brainer.
Feb 7, 2013 4:00PM
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Could it be possible that the lack of oxygen to one's brain, caused by smoking so many cigs, can make a person "crazy?"  Just wondering, because your physical well-being can affect your mind, as we see with people who drink too much, then they get mood swings when they are "dry."  Cigarettes are filled with bad chemicals and they affect your heart, lungs, circulation...  everything...  probably they mess with your head, too!
Feb 7, 2013 3:59PM
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Well given the findings, I'm pretty sure a high percentage of our politicians smoke.
Feb 7, 2013 3:55PM
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So if I smoke weed AND cigs, does that mean I'm twice as crazy?
Feb 7, 2013 3:52PM
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Can I bumm a cig from someone. 

I AM NOT MAD I TELL YOU ......

I AM NOT ...... I am not .....

oohhhh that feels gooooooooood ........

Feb 7, 2013 3:52PM
Feb 7, 2013 3:50PM
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 HAIL TO THE REDSKINS  N.F,C EAST CHAMPS
Feb 7, 2013 3:46PM
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Like anybody in their right mind smokes? Seriously with all the scientifically proven facts about the health hazards. The cost and social stigma. Why would anybody smoke? 
Feb 7, 2013 3:45PM
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"and cigarette makers would be wise to nod, say "that's nice" and walk away." are you freaking kidding me?! That's disgusting. That's your opening sentence? Stigmatize and install fear of people who need help, your pathetic I can't believe how disgusting you are. Trying to spread fear is deplorable, if we were a decent society that would be cause for reprimand. Stop spreading fear. Oh n btw I'm a gun owning democrat.
Feb 7, 2013 3:44PM
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I don't smoke so I must not be ill. Huh, who'd a thunk.

Feb 7, 2013 3:44PM
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CDC is now classified as a "Tool" of the current administration.....

I see it now, If you smoke, you're classified as possibly mentally ill and you may be turned down for gun ownership........How convienent!

Feb 7, 2013 3:41PM
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These studies are prejudicial based on the simple fact that the final results are determined before the study begins.

Feb 7, 2013 3:39PM
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Folks, this is your Captain speaking, look, uhm, light 'em up, cause we're going down, okay, I got a carton of Camel non-filters, I'll see you on the ground.
Feb 7, 2013 3:38PM
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 WHAT  DIFFERANCE DOE'S IT MAKE. WHAT o/o OF PEOPLE SMOKE .QUIT WASTING MONEY ON THING'S THAT NOBODY GIVE A S;.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 QUIT WAST TAX PAYERS MONEY ON STUPID THINGS LIKE THIS WHO GIVE'S A F&$+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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