Survey on Smoking and Mental Illness
NAMI National has been making efforts to help address smoking and mental illness. One way you can help us is by participating in this survey below to help us gather more information.
Participants may be eligible for this study if they:
- Are 18 years or older
- Have been diagnosed with a mental health condition
This study is an anonymous online survey that looks at tobacco use by people who experience mental health conditions. The goal of this study is to give researchers more information about how many people in this population use tobacco, how many would like to quit using tobacco, and some of the important experiences and feelings involved. Collecting this information is very important to support future research in tobacco cessation.
Please select this link to access the survey: https://uofmississippi.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0cuRZjHQUM5BZLD
- 32.6% of individuals living with a mental illness smoke cigarettes compared to 20.7% of the general population.
- Individuals living with mental illnesses are more likely to smoke larger quantities and smoke more frequently than the general population.
- Each year thousands of nonsmokers die from heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases caused by secondhand smoke.
- Health care providers often believe individuals living with a mental illness need to smoke to help with symptoms of their mental illness, but in reality smoking often makes these symptoms worse. Withdrawal symptoms also often mirror symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and insomnia.
- When supported with counseling and medications, studies have found people living with a mental illness are able to quit at the same rates as anyone else.
- The most effective way to quit smoking is through using a medication. With the support of a healthcare provider, individuals may combine multiple medications to help them quit or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke.
Source: NAMI MN Smoking and Mental Illness Fact sheet
Keys to Success
- Start the conversation
Educate yourself on the reasons your loved one might smoke then pick the right time to mention your concern and ask if they’ve considered quitting. Remember to listen more than you talk and make it clear that you are there for support. For more tips on talking to a loved one about quitting, and resources for smoking cessation, visit the Quitter’s Circle.
Research shows that practicing mindfulness meditation over just a couple of weeks can reduce smoking by more than half. Even a few minutes of meditation each day has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. More information and mindfulness meditation audio files can be found at Free Mindfulness Project.
Research shows that using exercise to cope reduces cravings and stress and also increases the likelihood of quitting. Exercising changes your body in ways that can help you quit smoking, including boosting feel-good brain chemicals and lowering stress hormones. You can find more information about the study here and find tips on starting an exercise program here.
- Take a class
NAMI Minnesota has published a number of fact sheets on smoking cessation.