Kansas Report: High Rates of Smoking Among Mentally Ill

Rob Wipond
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People living in Kansas who are diagnosed with mental illnesses are twice as likely to smoke tobacco as the rest of the population, according to a report from RTI International and the Kansas Health Foundation. The researchers found 37.8 percent of Kansas adults with mental illness smoke, compared to 17.3 percent of adults without mental illness, and nearly one-half of those diagnosed with mental disorders reported smoking in the last 30 days. The more serious or chronic the disorders, stated the report, the higher the smoking rates. The numbers correspond to other studies cited by the authors.

“The smoking rate among adults with mental illness remains high despite progress made in tobacco control and the decrease of smoking among the general population,” said Betty Brown, lead author of the study, in an RTI press release. “As a result, people with mental illness are at an increased risk of negative health, financial, and social outcomes associated with their tobacco use.”

Although the authors apparently gathered data about which people were currently taking psychiatric medications and which were not, the report included no information or discussion about whether the smoking rates were different or the same in the two groups.


Study: Kansas adults with mental illness twice as likely to use tobacco
(RTI International Press Release, July 8, 2014)

Tobacco Use Among Kansans with Mental Illness (RTI International, July 2014)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

12 COMMENTS

  1. It is well known that those who are captured into the “mental health system” and manipulated or forced to take toxic drugs like neuroleptics based on a life destroying stigma tend to die about 25 years earlier on average. And that’s for adults; the horrific consequences of psychiatry’s predation on children and toddlers not to mention in the womb have yet to be seen, but are sure to be even uglier and more dismal.

    I have noticed that whenever anyone discovers ways that psychiatry or their lethal drugs/torture treatments harm people past and present, they start working on their latest spin to discredit anyone who would hold them responsible including “patients,” families, whistleblower doctors, etc.

    Thus, I have also noticed many articles and efforts by psychiatry lately to focus on the “health” of their captives including smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart problems and others with a majority induced by their toxic drugs while self destructive habits come from such stressors as being stigmatized and bullied by supposed mental health experts who retraumatize their so called clients, which increases stress/trauma related addictions like smoking, drinking, drugging while making it much harder to quit. This is especially true when psychiatry aids and abets the abusers in marriage, divorce situations while destroying the women and children in the process with their bogus bipolar, ADHD, paranoia and other labels to justify toxic drugging while robbing the victims of all justice.

    Thus, I think to fully assess if the so called original “mental illness” such as trauma from abuse often deliberately misdiagnosed as bipolar, which drives people to self soothing/medicating ( good reason for old saying “it’s enough to drive you to drink) is due to the so called “mental illness” over time or the torture inflicted by the mental death profession, a study would have to be done of one group left unassaulted by psychiatry and the other in their thrall and subject to psychiatry’s usual tortures to aid and abet their fellow abusers in power in homes, work and community at large.

    Based on my obervations/research, once people get away from abusers, mobbers and bullies, they have a much easier time giving up stress/trauma induced harmful habits while those who are viciously betrayed by the mental death profession/legal system and others when seeking help for domestic, work and other abuse, even begin such self destructive habits like drinking too much in a desperate though self defeating way to cope with the shocking betrayal, horror and stress/trauma they suffer as a result.

    But, typical of psychiatry, I am seeing more and more efforts on their part to blame their victims completely for their much earlier deaths once entrapped by the mental death profession. Caveat emptor about these so called “noble” attempts to improve the “health” of psychiatry’s captives while continuing to force them to take brain/body destroying lethal drugs due to fraudulent, voted in life/reputation/career/relationship/family destroying stigmas.

    • “Thus, I have also noticed many articles and efforts by psychiatry lately to focus on the “health” of their captives including smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart problems and others with a majority induced by their toxic drugs while self destructive habits come from such stressors as being stigmatized and bullied by supposed mental health experts who retraumatize their so called clients, which increases stress/trauma related addictions like smoking, drinking, drugging while making it much harder to quit. This is especially true when psychiatry aids and abets the abusers in marriage, divorce situations while destroying the women and children in the process with their bogus bipolar, ADHD, paranoia and other labels to justify toxic drugging while robbing the victims of all justice.” Well said.

  2. Here is one of those great “blame the victims” for their plight gems from psychiatry a la drug company CEO Mitch Daniels to always blame the toxic effects of lethal drugs and other deadly “treatments” including bullies in the mental death profession on the victims’ supposed “mental illness” as exposed by Dr. David Healy.

    Despite the fact that the image of smoking has changed from a cool, very fashionable and sexy thing to do (see older movies) to leper status within a couple of decades is not mentioned in this bogus article attributing smoking to the supposed bogus mental illness itself, which would drive anyone to smoke, drink or otherwise wish to “self soothe.” The truth is that often young teens got hooked on smoking to look/be “cool,” thanks to the horrible predation on them by tobacco/drug companies and politicians who refused to do the right thing to protect these vulnerable kids. As Dr. David Healy has shown, now Big Pharma, is using the same deadly marketing practices of the tobacco industry to prey on society’s most vulnerable with special emphasis on youth and elderly most recently with “doubt as their product.”

    So, be prepared to continue to see these great concerns about the so called health of the “mentally ill” that are obvious ploys to blame the victims for any traumatic life events, predatory manipulation by big business in youth like Big Tobacco with Big Pharma the current equal menace and other reactions to such stressors while completely ignoring the horrific effects of bogus stigmas like bipolar as a “severe mental illness” making one a prisoner with no human rights for life and forced to take any lethal drug or brain damaging/disabling treatment that will cause much organ/body damage too along with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, eye problems, incontinence, stroke, depression, zombie like behavior and feelings and on and on resulting in those early deaths by about 25 years on average.

    Also, cigarettes, junk food and other toxic manipulations have been used to control “patients” in mental hospitals along with typical abuse, so this latest ploy by psychiatry with this great pretense of concern for the health of their victims is also quite hypocritical.

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60677-7/fulltext?elsca1=ETOC-LANCET&elsca2=email&elsca3=E24A35F

  3. As someone who can medically prove the etiology of my “bipolar” misdiagnosis was the common withdrawal effects (odd dreams, “brain zaps,” and unusual sexual side effects) from Wellbutrin, given for smoking cessation. I’d like to point out that perhaps it is the “safe smoking cessation meds” (dangerous antidepressants) that are causing the “mental illnesses” in so many smokers who want to quit? This article does not mention this possibility.

    Here’s an article pointing out the dangers of Chantix, too:

    http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/mad-in-america/201101/psychiatric-drugs-and-violence-review-fda-data-finds-link

    I’ve read that the medical community feels that smokers are completely to blame for all their health issues, so perhaps it’s possible they also feel it’s their right to force toxic and dangerous mind altering drugs onto all people who want to quit smoking, while lying through their teeth claiming the smoking cessation drugs are “safe”? And telling patients NOT to research the smoking cessation drugs, prior to taking them. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, I’m not that stupid.

    I do so hope we may see a return of ethics and humility amongst the god complexed soon. Pardon my disappointment with the less than ethical and / or misinformed, thus ignorant while proclaiming to “know everything about the meds,” medical practicers. Big Pharma, and medical hubris, have made a mockery of the US medical industry, IMHO.

  4. And the shorter life expectancy of 25 years is not the comparison to people who live perfectly healthy, but to people who have an average (often unhealthy) life style (including “normal” people who smoke).

    Maybe it would help to _not_ block dopamine receptors with neuroleptic drugs? Nicotine increases dopamine levels. Maybe smoking reduces the bad psychological effects of neuroleptics a little bit.

  5. I found this online and copied it here.

    To Whom This May Concern,

    Well, well what a revolting concept. I agree with Dr Alvaro Manove, who wrote that piece in the SMH, “Stopping Mentally Ill People from Smoking is Cruel”, March 20, 2009.

    I speak from personal experience. I am a mentally ill person who has had many admissions into a psychiatric facility in Brisbane, Queensland. I have to say, that we had designated areas within the complex to smoke. Voluntary and involuntary patients had the same liberties.

    To think that a severely impaired person, suffering from psychosis for example, could possibly process the withdrawal from nicotine in the name of
    “political correctness” is beyond me. You only have to look at a large amount of people trying to give up smoking(which is a choice, mind you) and they, being “normal people” suffer intense headaches, moodiness, agitation, anger, anxiety and grief. I am not saying that all people suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms, but most people I have talked to have wrestled with this addiction like a well-meaning crocodile. Now add that to a severe psychotic episode!!

    While someone is in terrible physical and mental anguish do you think that the obvious downside to smoking is really at the forefront of their long-term
    well-being? Give me a break! Most patients struggle with what day it is, let alone “Is this cigarette killing me? No, this severe depressive episode is likely to kill me first!!

    Let them smoke, for goodness sake! it is cruel and unusual punishment to remove a legal dependancy that provides some relief in this horrendous time. I have also found that smoking is the only vice that recovering alcoholics or drug addicts have. Don’t torture them further by taking away the only thing they feel they have left……..believe me, I have been told by patients that their pouch of tobacco and their tiny blue lighter is all that remains of their life outside.

    Send some of those NSW politicians or policy makers in to TALK to patients……..they will see a very different view from their privileged, bigoted, narrow-minded positions. Once they see the anguish and mental torture people go through in a psychiatric facility, they will be compelled beyond their understanding to provide the “cancer stick” that they, in their infinite wisdom, were prepared to deny!!

    Yours sincerely,

    Michah Hadley
    Queensland

    • I’m switching exclusively to an E-Cigarette. I’ve done enough research (and have used it for months at a time) to trust that it won’t stain my new dentures after I get them installed. But nicotine is a both a stimulant and a depressant that we unconsciously regulate to get the effect we need at any given time, it only stays in the brain for seven minutes, and almost everyone who doesn’t chain smoke ignores many cravings a day in order to function in their environment. Of all the psyche drugs I’ve been on, I can’t think of any more useful and more amenable to conscious control.

  6. Smoking Ban – Putting the Boot into Mental Health Patients

    The obvious question is, will it help patients? A third of mental health sufferers and two thirds of schizophrenics smoke but under the government plan, they have to quit or abstain while they are being treated. Is it really a good idea to put this extra unnecessary stress on people already confronting intense personal issues? Although nicotine is physically addictive, it also has a huge psychological dependancy that can make it extremely stressful to quit.

    As a smoker I know about the compulsory need to reach for a cigarette regardless of the harms. Kicking nicotine addiction is simply not possible for many including myself especially during a time of stress. I don’t care how many anti-smoking groups or loud vocal nay-sayers harp on, I find it virtually impossible to quit. The idea of quitting whilst dealing with a major issue in my life is even more distant and I am sure this is the same for most long term smokers. And what bigger issue could one have to deal with than going to a psychiatric centre for a mental health problem? I could only imagine one worse scenario than having to deal with a mental health issue at a psychiatric hospital … having to quit smoking as well.

    http://theaustralianheroindiaries.blogspot.com/2009/02/smoking-ban-putting-boot-into-mental.html

    • You’re right. I’ve seen completely “normal” people who couldn’t get their smoke for a few days going completely badshit crazy with mood swings, irritability and aggression. I’ve seen that even with caffeine withdrawal (which is also restricted in psych wards when you are not allowed to drink more coffee than what they give you and I’m not even mentioning that this coffee is the quality of cat pee anyway).