Smoking is much more common in adults with mental illness than other adults

Nationally, nearly 1 in 5 adults (or 45.7 million adults) have some form of mental illness, and 36% of these people smoke cigarettes. In comparison, 21% of adults without mental illness smoke cigarettes.

report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows troubling statistics:

  • 31% of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness.
  • 40% of men and 34% of women with mental illness smoke.
  • 48% of people with mental illness who live below the poverty level smoke, compared with 33% of those with mental illness who live above the poverty level.

Adults with mental illness who smoke want to and are able to quit.

  • Like other smokers, smokers with mental illness are interested in quitting, are able to quit, and have a better chance of quitting successfully when they have access to proven stop-smoking treatments.
  • With careful monitoring, quitting smoking does not interfere with treatments for mental illness and can be part of the treatment.
  • People with mental illness face challenges in quitting smoking and may benefit from extra help to succeed in quitting. This can include more counseling as well as longer use or a combination of stop-smoking medicines.

Smokers who quit have immediate health benefits.

  • Risk for a heart attack drops sharply just 1 year after quitting.
  • After 2 to 5 years, the chance of stroke can fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s.
  • Within 5 years of quitting, the chance of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half.
  • Ten years after quitting smoking, the risk for dying from lung cancer drops by half.

 Support to Quit

For free quit support, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). This number routes callers to their state quit lines, which provide free support and advice from experienced counselors, a personalized quit plan, self-help materials, the latest information about quitting medications, and more. Specific services vary from state to state. Quitting services and resources are also available online in EnglishExternal Web Site Icon, and in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon. These Web sites provide free, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit tobacco use.

Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009-2011, Adults ages 18 or older
**Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009-2011, Adults ages 25 or older