Smoking Especially Harmful for the Mentally Ill

Every 11 minutes, a Canadian dies from tobacco use.

In just Ontario alone there are 1,796,000 smokers.

We know it is the most preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada, yet we continue to smoke.

Personally, I have never even taken a puff on a cigarette.

Smoking is not only health threatening, it is a costly addiction. If the average number of cigarettes smoked per day is 13, there are 20 in a pack, and the average cost of a pack is $9, by quitting today you would save $177.94 per month and $2135.25 per year. To me, that’s a lot of money to spend shopping! (Or, if my dad is reading this, it is money to put towards paying off my student loans.)

According to statistics, people with mental illness are two to four times more likely to smoke than the general population. This statistic is alarming.

After speaking to a subset of patients here at Ontario Shores, it appears that the main reasons our patients smoke is because it helps to relieve stress and to be in the social norm. Not an earth shattering difference between smokers without a mental illness.
The implications of smoking while on psychotropic medication can’t be ignored. Smokers often need higher doses of medications because of their increased metabolism and quick clearance of medications.

This is especially interesting from a cessation perspective. Eliminating the use of tobacco could translate in a reduction in medication and its side effects.

On May 31st, we will be celebrating World No Tobacco Day.

As a sector, let’s continue to encourage our patients to quit smoking! Having a quit day has been found to be one of the most effective ways to quit smoking, so inform and empower your patients to quit on this day. At Ontario Shores, we offer free nicotine replacement therapies to patients looking to quit the habit. 

Here are some resources to help.

http://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/Library/What_we_do/Clinical_Services/Public_Health/Smoking_Interactions.pdf
http://www.tobaccoreport.ca/2013/TobaccoUseinCanada_2013.pdf