The study showed that people with mental illness are 70 percent more likely to smoke than those without mental health problems.
MSN Money reports that 36 percent of adults with a mental illness smoke. That is in contrast to just 21 percent of people who smoke and do not have mental illness.
The report adds that mentally ill adults are also less likely to quit smoking once they have started. Their cigarette purchases account for about one third of cigarette sales in the United States.
There is also a bigger correlation with mentally ill men. While 34 percent of mentally ill women smoke, the report found that 40 percent of men with a mental illness smoke. There is also a link between increased smoking and poverty among all demographics, though it is much more of an issue for those with mental health issues.
The New York Times notes that Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, stated during a press briefing, “Many people with mental illness are at greater risk of dying early from smoking than of dying from their mental health conditions.”
The report on mental illness and smoking was compiled based on information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey interviewed 138,000 adults in their homes between 2009 and 2011.
People were given 14 questions, which were used to assess their psychological distress and disability. Those with substance abuse or a developmental disorder were not considered people with mental illness.
Along with smoking being more common among the mentally ill, the study also found that smoking rates for people with mental illness followed the pattern of the state’s overall smoking rate. The study did not compare trends in smoking among mentally ill people over time.
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