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Smoking rates much higher among mentally ill, CDC reports

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: February 5, 2013 - 11:32 AM

The smoking rate for U.S. adults with mental illness is 70 percent higher than for those without such problems, health officials reported Tuesday.

Overall, 36 percent of adults diagnosed with a mental health issue smoke, compared to 21 percent among the general population, according to the report  from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Among adults with mental illness, cigarette smoking rates are especially high among younger adults and people living in poverty or with lower levels of education, the CDC said.

Rates range from about 18 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent of those surveyed in West Virginia.

On average, adults with mental illness also smoke more cigarettes per month than smokers without mental illness (331 vs. 310 cigarettes), and smokers with mental illness are less likely to quit smoking.

More must be done to help this population break free of tobacco, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "Smokers with mental illness, like other smokers, want to quit and can quit," he said. "Stop-smoking treatments work and it's important to make them more available to all people who want to quit."

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