|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
U.S. study finds mentally ill are twice as likely to smoke
CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- A report from the Harvard Medical School released Tuesday estimated that people with diagnosable mental illness account for nearly 45 percent of the total cigarette market in the United States.
The study, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, said that could be because the mentally ill are more vulnerable to tobacco advertising or nicotine addiction.
"We found that persons with mental illness are about twice as likely to smoke as other persons, a finding consistent with previous studies," said the Harvard report.
The findings were based on data from 4,411 people aged 15 to 54 questioned in a congressionally mandated study of the prevalence of U.S. psychiatric disorders conducted in 1991 and 1992. The report said it was the most recent national data source available on mental illness and smoking.
The survey found that people with a mental disorder had consumed approximately 44.3 percent of all the cigarettes smoked by the nationally representative sample in the previous 30 days.
"Extrapolating our results to the U.S. population, we estimate that persons with a diagnosable mental disorder ... consume nearly half of all cigarettes smoked in the United States," the report said. "Our findings emphasize the importance of focusing smoking prevention and cessation efforts on the mentally ill."
The study defined mental illness broadly -- from major depression, bipolar disorder and panic disorder to alcohol abuse, drug dependence and antisocial personality, and covering such problems as schizophrenia and delusional disorders.
"Perhaps mental illness causes smoking by making people more vulnerable to tobacco advertising or nicotine addiction," said Karen Lasser, lead author of the study. "However, other studies have called the direction of causality into question, suggesting that smoking may cause mental illness and our findings are certainly compatible with that as well."
The report said that about a third of smokers with mental illness were able to quit and if they were also abstaining from drugs and alcohol they had a cessation rate comparable to smokers without mental illness -- a finding that should encourage them to try to stop.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Study: Nicotine causes selective damage in brain
CDC Tobacco Information and Prevention Source
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.