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Smoking cessation and serious mental illness

Graham Cope explains how people with mental health conditions can be encouraged to quit smoking

Cigarette smoking has decreased significantly in the UK in recent years, with the latest data showing 14% of adults are smokers. This equates to around seven million people, with more men (16%) still smoking compared to women (13%). Of concern is that the highest percentage of smokers is in the 25-35 age group (19%), with the number of smokers employed in routine and manual occupations being around 2.5 times higher than people employed in managerial and professional occupations. The percentage who reported using e-cigarettes is about 6% of those questioned, which equates to nearly 3 million adults in the population.1

One subpopulation that continues to have a high rate of tobacco consumption is those with serious mental illness (SMI).2 SMI is defined as mental, behavioural, or emotional disorder, resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illness is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.3

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