woman smoking a cigarette


WashU Finds Patients with Mental Illness Want to Quit Smoking

June 01, 2018 - 8:03 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Washington University researchers have found a way to lower the higher than average smoking rate for the mentally ill. 

The smoking rate among mentally ill patients is almost four times the national average. 

Wash U researchers led by Dr. Li-Shiun Chen studied patients at four local clinics and found the vast majority wanted to quit - but their healthcare providers often weren't getting the message.

“Only about 5 percent of smokers with serious mental illness are receiving medication to help them quit, so about 80 percent of the patients are wanting to quit or reduce, and 60 percent of these patients report they made a quit attempt last year," he says.

Chen says they found that by training health care providers to simply recognize that many such patients want to quit smoking, they were able to lower the smoking rate a small but significant amount -- from 57 to 54 percent -- with many more patients successfully reducing their smoking habit.