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Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years with Mental Illness—United States, 2009–2011

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February 8, 2013 / Vol. 62 / Early Release

MMWR Introduction

Despite overall declines in the prevalence of adult cigarette smoking, prevalence remains high among certain subpopulations, particularly persons with mental illness. During 2009–2011, prevalence of current smoking among persons with a mental illness was 36.1% compared with 21.4% among those without a mental illness. In addition to the high prevalence of smoking among persons with a mental illness, data also indicate that these persons smoke more cigarettes per month and are less likely to have stopped smoking, compared with persons without mental illness. During 2009–2011,an estimated 45.7 million U.S. adults (19.9%) aged ≥18 years had a mental illness.

In order to reduce smoking among persons with mental illness, increasing awareness of the high smoking prevalence in this population is needed. In addition to investing in comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs at CDC-recommended levels, further coordination between tobacco control and mental health programs at the national, state, and community levels is needed. Persons with a mental illness who smoke are as interested in quitting as other smokers, are able to quit successfully, and benefit from evidence-based cessation treatments. However, more intensive and longer smoking cessation treatment may benefit some persons with mental illness trying to quit for good.