Mentally Ill Smoke Nearly 40% of Cigarettes

Individuals who struggle with a mental disorder are at an increased risk for multiple other conditions, including additional mental health issues  substance use disorders. A recent report from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health indicates that much of the cigarette consumption in the United States is by those who have a mental disorder. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is a tool used by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to gather information about substance use and other health issues among Americans. The results are used to provide guidance for the development of policies relating to drug use prevention, intervention and education. Substance abuse treatment centers and facilities that treat mental health disorders also regularly look to results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to help determine the best strategies for treatment. For instance, the information is helpful for developing screening tools for those who enter treatment. With the screenings, the clinicians can determine the best treatment strategy for helping the patient recover from various addictions or mental health issues that may be interacting. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health issued for the years 2009 to 2011 was recently compiled into a report providing information about cigarette use in the United States. The report finds that those with mental illness or substance use disorders are more likely to smoke. The report also shows that among those who have mental illness or substance use disorders, cigarette use is higher than among the general population who smokes. The report defines any mental illness as “any diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder other than a substance use disorder.” In addition, the survey defines a substance use disorder as being dependent on or abusing any type of alcohol or illegal drugs. Among adults over the age of 18, the average day resulted in 588 million cigarettes smoked. While 24.8 percent of all adults had a substance use disorder or mental illness, they smoked 39.6 of all cigarettes. This number reflects the finding that nearly 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked are being smoked by those who have additional mental health or substance use disorders. The finding highlights the need to screen for cigarette use among those being treated for either mental health disorders or substance use disorders. Helping them recover from an addiction to cigarettes may be possible as part of a treatment for a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. The findings of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health highlight the high rate of cigarette use among individuals with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. In order to treat the whole person when they seek help, screenings for cigarette use at treatment centers is critical.

Scroll to Top