Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

People with Mental Illness Unfazed by Smoking Trends

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

People with Mental Illness Unfazed by Smoking Trends

Article excerpt

The recent nationwide decline in the rate of cigarette smoking in the general population of adults did not extend to those with mental illness, according to a report published online in JAMA.

En a study of serial, nationally representative samples of non-institutionalized American adults, the smoking rate significandy declined from 19.2% in 2004 to 16.5% in 2011 among adults without mental illness. But it declined only negligibly during that period among those with mental illness, from 25.3% to 24.9%, said Benjamin Le Cook, Ph.D., of the department of psychiatry, Cambridge (Mass.) Health Alliance, and his associates. "This suggests that tobacco control policies and cessation interventions targeting the general population have not worked as effectively for those with mental illness," they said.

Noting that until now "there have been no studies that examine smoking trends among persons with mental illness," Dr. Cook and his colleagues examined smoking rates over time using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. This survey assesses health care use in about 15,000 U.S. households each year.

For their study, Dr. Cook and his associates tracked smoking rates among 165,269 participants from 2004 through 2011. The overall smoking rate was higher among adults with mental illness (28.2%) than among those without mental illness (17.5%), which was expected, because many previous studies have noted an approximately twofold higher rate of smoking among people with mental illness.

In an initial, unadjustea analysis of the data, the smoking rate dropped from 19.5% to 15.6% in adults without mental illness, compared with a much smaller decline from 28.8% to 27.0% in those with mental illness. After the data were adjusted to account for numerous potentially confounding factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, marital status, income, and urban versus other areas of residence, those rates changed slightly, but the pattern persisted: Smoking rates were consistently higher and showed only a nominal decline among people with mental illness. …

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