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CDC: People With Mental Illness More Likely To Smoke Cigarettes

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File photo of a person smoking a cigarette. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of a person smoking a cigarette. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/GettyImages)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has found that many people with a mental illness are also smokers, and that those with mental illness are prone to tobacco use and abuse.

According to the CDC, as many as 45.7 million adults – approximately one out of every five – have a mental illness of some variety. And of those, an estimated 36 percent smoke cigarettes.

This reportedly contrasts significantly with the population free of mental illness, of which only 21 percent smoke.

“There are other troubling statistics from the report … [including the fact that] 31 percent of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness,” a release posted on the CDC’s official website noted. “[Also,] 48 percent of people with mental illness who live below the poverty level smoke, compared with 33 percent of those with mental illness who live above the poverty level.”

Research indicates that the mood-modifying properties of nicotine contribute highly to the risk of people with mental illness abusing tobacco.

There is hope, though, according to the CDC.

“[R]ecent research has shown that adult smokers with mental illness — like other smokers — want to quit, can quit, and benefit from proven stop-smoking treatments,” the release noted. “These treatments need to be made available to people with mental illness and tailored as needed to address the unique issues this population faces.”

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