Smoking and Mental Health: Why Is It Harder for People with Mental Illness to Quit Smoking?

Recent research shows that one-half of all premature deaths of people who live with serious mental illnesses are caused by 19 diseases directly connected to smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the general U.S. population, smoking rates over the past 50 years have dropped substantially—to about 18 percent. We have no similar improvement in the population of people living with mental illness; the rate of smoking for those with serious mental illnesses is 53 percent. This rate is higher than the smoking rate was in the general population in 1964, when the Surgeon General first warned of health harms associated with smoking. This is a public health crisis in our community, yet we also know that people are not getting the support they need to help them quit.  Read the full story on the NAMI website.