The rate of smoking for adults with some form of mental illness is 70 percent higher, compared with those without a mental health issue, according to a new government report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among adults with a mental illness, 36 percent smoke cigarettes, compared with 21 percent of adults without a mental illness.
Smoking rates are particularly high among younger adults with mental illness, and those living in poverty or with lower levels of education, HealthDay reports. Smokers with mental illness are less likely to quit smoking, the report found.
“Smokers with mental illness, like other smokers, want to quit and can quit,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news release. “Stop-smoking treatments work and it’s important to make them more available to all people who want to quit.”
There are large differences among states in the percentage of those with mental illness who smoke, ranging from 18.2 percent in Utah, to 48.7 percent in West Virginia.
According to the CDC, people with mental illness are more likely to have stressful living conditions, be low income, and lack access to health insurance, health care, and getting help to quit. All of these factors make it more challenging to quit. Nicotine has mood-altering effects that put people with mental illness at higher risk for cigarette use and nicotine addiction, the CDC noted in its report.