Letter to the editor: Smoking and mental illness an unfortunate but common combination
Help quitting is available
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. About one in four Americans suffer every day from some form of mental illness. Adding to that tragedy is the fact that those with a mental illness are more than twice as likely to use nicotine products. Nearly a third of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness.
Individuals with mental illness are likely to suffer the same effects of tobacco use — like heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases — as those who smoke without having a mental illness. However, those with a mental illness can die as much as 24 years earlier than others, often from tobacco-related illness.
Due to the mood-altering effects of nicotine, individuals with mental illness have a higher risk for cigarette and nicotine addiction. Despite these issues, smokers with mental illness want to quit, can quit, and can be helped through tested stop-smoking treatments.
There is free help available through the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Quitting smoking is rarely easy. However, it can be done, and it is definitely worth it. Quitting smoking is the single most important step people can take to protect their health and the health of their family.
For more information about nicotine treatment for those with mental illness, go to the Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment Project at wisconsinwintip.com.
For more on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, contact DaNita Carlson at the Wood County Health Department at 715-421-8948 or [email protected]
Marshfield Clinic AmeriCorps member