U.S. adults with some type of mental illness smoke at a rate that is 70 percent higher than adults who do not have mental illness, says a Vital Signs report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The report defined mental illness as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that was diagnosed within in the past 12 months. The researchers used combined data from SAMHSA’s 2009–2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to calculate national and state estimates of cigarette smoking among adults aged 18 years and older who reported that they had a mental illness.
“Special efforts are needed to raise awareness about the burden of smoking among people with mental illness and to monitor progress in addressing this disparity,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.
- nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States (45.7 million Americans) have a mental illness
- 36 percent of adults with a mental illness are cigarette smokers compared to 21 percent of smokers who do not have a mental illness
- smoking prevalence is especially high among younger adults who are American Indians or Alaska Natives, those living below the poverty line, and those with lower levels of education
- Differences in smoking rates range from state to state from 18.2 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent in West Virginia
- On average, adult smokers with mental illness smoke more cigarettes per month than those without mental illness (331 vs. 310 cigarettes)
- Adult smokers with mental illness are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than adult smokers without mental illness
“Smokers with mental illness, like other smokers, want to quit and can quit,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Stop-smoking treatments work and it’s important to make them more available to all people who want to quit.”
For quitting assistance, smokers can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit the Smoke Free website or the Be Tobacco Free website for information on quitting and preventing children from using tobacco.
Vital Signs provides the latest data and information on key health indicators on the first Tuesday of the month.