Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Psychiatric Institutions Must Help Patients Quit Smoking

Smoking rates are higher for people with serious mental illness than for the general population, contributing to a 25-year reduction in life expectancy in that population, according to a report from Legacy, a national antismoking organization.

“Individuals who have psychiatric disorders smoke at rates almost twice as high as the general population,” said the report. However, not enough is being done to help people with mental illness to quit smoking, said Legacy CEO Cheryl Healton, Dr.P.H. Many mental health care providers believe that tobacco is just a form of self-medication. Some still use cigarettes as a means of reward and control in psychiatric institutions. “People with mental illnesses are just as motivated to quit as the general population and they should be given that chance to do so,” said Healton. Psychiatric hospitals and clinics should have smoke-free policies, and providers should be trained in tobacco-cessation strategies, which should be integrated into mental health treatment plans, the report concluded.

Read more about the difficulties involved in reducing smoking in psychiatric facilities in Psychiatric News.
(Image: Zdenek


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