Mental disorders linked to smoking

March 20, 2013 at 7:53 PM

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 20 (UPI) -- U.S. adults who experienced mental illness or who have had a substance use disorder in the past year are more likely than others to smoke, researchers say.

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration -- part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- found adults experiencing any mental illness or a substance use disorder in the past year represented 24.8 percent of the U.S. adult population, but that same group used 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked by adults.

In addition, 39 percent of adults experiencing mental illness or substance use disorders were current smokers, as opposed to 20 percent of adults without those conditions -- meaning the rate of current cigarette smoking among adults experiencing mental illness or substance use disorders was 94 percent higher than among adults without these disorders.

The report defined any mental illness as any diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder other than a substance use disorder.

The report defined a substance use disorder as dependence on or abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs.

"It has long been a public health priority to develop effective smoking prevention and cessation programs," Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of SAMHSA, said in a statement. "This report highlighted a clear disparity. It showed that people dealing with mental illness or substance abuse issues smoke more and were less likely to quit."

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