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Published:February 11th, 2013 12:36 EST

Do People with Mental Illnesses Smoke More?

By John Pustelnik

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that people with mental disorders are 70% more likely to smoke, compared to people without mental illnesses.

"Many people with mental illness are at greater risk of dying early from smoking than of dying from their mental health conditions," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The organization has found that one out of three people with a mental illness smokes, as opposed to one out of five people without a mental illness.

Not only are people with mental illnesses more likely to smoke, they are more likely to smoke more cigarettes per day than a person without a mental illness that smokes.

The study did not state what causes people with mental illnesses to smoke more, but suggested several possible reasons, one of those reasons blaming nicotine.

"There are some effects of nicotine which can mask some of the negative effects of mental illness,"  said Frieden.

The study also stated that nicotine can cause some medications to weaken, causing people to smoke more in order to mask the negative symptoms of the mental illness.

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