Behavioral Health and Smoking

Ready Set Quit Tobacco is working to help improve Morgan County’s behavioral health, too. Smoking rates are 2-4 times higher among those with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. In fact,  people with serious mental illness die 25 years younger than the general population due largely to conditions caused or worsened by smoking. In addition, smokers with schizophrenia spend more than one-quarter of their total income on cigarettes.

Many reasons are offered for the high rate of smoking among people with mental illness. According to the Tobacco Cessation Leadership Network, these include:

  • Self-medicating: nicotine’s positive reinforcing effects help manage adverse events, yet tobacco use interferes with medications used to manage mental illnesses.
  • Psychological: psychiatric patients who smoke report that smoking reduces symptoms.
  • Social: limited education, poverty, unemployment, peers, and mental health treatment system where tobacco use is generally tolerated contributes to heavier smoking in this population.

Approximately 88% of smokers want to quit, yet only 3 percent are able to quit on their own.

But there is hope. Even highly addicted smokers with mental illness can quit and are more likely to succeed with a combination of medications and behavioral therapy. This is where cessation resources come in handy, such as the Quitline. The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is available 24/7 and experienced, trained Quit Coaches are just a phone call away.

Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).