Mental Health Patients Smoke Three Times As Much As Public

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A government-funded public health organization in England says that people who are being treated for mental health illnesses smoke three times as much as the general public and is now pushing for all mental hospitals in the country to be smoke free as a result.

The survey, conducted by Public Health England (PHE) along with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) in 105 mental health units, found that 64% of mental health patients at those facilities have an addiction to tobacco. In comparison, 18% of the general public is addicted. Only 9% of mental health units are completely smoke free.

Besides the additional health comorbidies that smoking entails, research has indicated that the habit can increase depression and anxiety, as well as reduce the effectiveness of psychotropic medications by up to 50%. As a result, smoking by mental health patients costs the National Health Service up to 40 million pounds ($61.4 million) in additional drug costs annually.

Mary Yates, who works at Maudsley Hospital in London and who has been in mental health for over 25 years, told BBC News that when patients quit the habit, they “feel less anxious, have improvements in their moods, have increased self-confidence, and begin to feel that they are able to tackle a lot more in life.”

PHE has also published guidance for mental health facilities to implement a recommendation made by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, which provides medical guidance and advice, that all NHS hospitals should provide smoking cessation services.

Pharmacological Approaches to Help Psychiatric Patients Quit Smoking
Smoking can contribute to depression and anxiety.

Mental health patients smoke more than three times as much as the general population, a Public Health England (PHE) and NHS survey of 105 care units suggests.

Smoking can increase depression and anxiety and reduce the effectiveness of medication by up to 50%, experts warn. PHE wants all mental-health hospitals to be smoke-free zones.

The PHE survey suggests 64% of mental-health patients are addicted to tobacco — compared with 18% of the general population, although 9% of the units are already completely smoke-free.

It is publishing new guidance to help medium- and low-security mental-health units implement National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommendations that all NHS-funded hospitals should provide stop-smoking services.

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