Rates of smoking among New Jersey residents with poor mental health have, for the most part, remained unchanged over the last decade, while smoking rates in residents with better mental health have significantly decreased, according to recently published data.
“Evidence shows that there has been a significant decrease in smoking in adults, and our data indicates that people with mental illness attempt to quit smoking at the same rate as those without mental illness, yet they are not as successful,” Marc L. Steinberg, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said in a press release.
To assess the correlation between self-reported mental health and tobacco use, Steinberg and colleagues analyzed data from the 2001 to 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
A logit model assessing current smoking prevalence (n = 86,061) demonstrated that compared with participants with better mental health, participants with poor mental health were more likely to be current, daily and intermittent smokers (P < .0001 for all).
Out of the 10 years Steinberg and colleagues examined smoking prevalence and mental health, smoking rates among individuals with poor mental health remained unchanged for 8 of those years.
According to a logit model examining daily smoking prevalence (n = 81,887), among participants with better mental health, those who were classified as intermittent smokers were more likely to attempt quitting, compared with daily smokers. Aside from during the years 2004 to 2006, there were no statistically significant differences in quit attempts between daily and intermittent smokers with poor mental health.
Steinberg and colleagues noted that the current tobacco control strategies may not be reaching individuals with mental illnesses, or the approaches are not proving successful among those with mental illness.
“Tobacco control has been relatively successful in helping some groups quit smoking, but the remaining smokers may be the ones who are the hardest to treat. ... Individuals with mental illness represent approximately one-third of the adult smokers in the U.S. and we need to develop alternative tobacco control strategies, including targeted treatments for this vulnerable population,” Steinberg said in the release. – by Casey Hower
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.