CDC/SAMHSA Report: Smoking prevention, cessation programs needed to address high smoking rates among adults with mental illness

A new “Vital Signs” report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights an urgent need to address smoking among adults with mental illness. Smoking rates are 70 percent higher among adults with mental illness than among those without.

The report is based on data from the SAMHSA’s 2009-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, with mental illness defined as a “diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, excluding developmental and substance use disorders, in the past 12 months.”

These data also revealed that smoking rates among adults with mental illness are notably higher among young adults, American Indians, Alaska Natives, those living below the poverty line and those with less education.

Moreover, adults with mental illness are less likely to quit, according to the report.

In a press release, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said:

“Special efforts are needed to raise awareness about the burden of smoking among people with mental illness and to monitor progress in addressing this disparity.” 

Learn more about DARSSA and STaRS–two Polaris systems that are designed to meet SAMHSA’s recommendation for the implementation of an effective ‘screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment’ system (SBIRT) in health care settings for tobacco, drug and alcohol use.