Smoking rates higher among the mentally ill

(Photo by Geierunited)


A new study finds that cigarette smoking is higher among the mentally ill:

People with mental illness are 70 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes than people without mental illness, two federal health agencies reported Tuesday.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that one of every three adults with mental illness smokes, compared with one in five adults without mental illness.

A joint “Vital Signs” report from the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicated that, among adults who reported symptoms consistent with a recognized mental illness, 36.1% were current smokers, compared with 21.4% of the rest of the population.

The report, based on data from the 2009-2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, also found that 30.9% of all cigarettes consumed in the U.S. were smoked by the mentally ill. In part, this disproportion reflects heavier smoking in the mentally ill, with an average of 331 cigarettes per month compared with 310 in the rest of the smoking population…

CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, who also spoke at the briefing…Asserting that “about a thousand Americans are killed every day by tobacco,” Frieden said that smoking is more dangerous to the mentally ill in most cases than their mental illnesses.

Hard to Refuse

Smokers find it hard to quit because it’s difficult to refuse offers of cigarettes from others, and taking offers of cigarettes is one of the most frequently cited reasons for initiating smoking, according to the research, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

Cigarettes are given as gifts in many societies and were frequently exchanged in the U.S. from at least the 1930s before falling out of favor in the 60s.

Smoking is dangerous and hurts the smoker and those around the smoker.   While quitting smoking is difficult for most smokers, it seems to be more difficult for the mentally ill.

Of course, no one should smoke.

Decades before the scientific rationale about smoking risks was known, the late Hebert W. Armstrong came up with some biblical reasons that people should not smoke:

Now I had to face the question: Is smoking a SIN? I wanted the BIBLE answer, for I had learned by this time that Christ had said we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is our Instruction Book on right living. We must find a BIBLE reason for everything we do. I knew, of course, there is no specific command, “Thou shalt not smoke.” But the absence of a detailed prohibition did not mean God’s approval. I had learned that GOD’S LAW is His WAY OF LIFE. It is a basic philosophy of life.The whole Law is summed up in the one word LOVE.

I knew that love is the opposite of lust. Lust is self-desire — pleasing the self only. Love means loving others. Its direction is not inward toward self alone, but outgoing, toward others. I knew the Bible teaches that “lust of the flesh” is the way of SIN.

So now I began to apply the principle of God’s Law. I asked myself, “WHY do I smoke?” To please others — to help others — to serve or minister to or express love toward others — or only to satisfy and gratify a desire of the flesh within my own self? The answer was instantaneously obvious. I had to be honest with it. My only reason for smoking was LUST OF THE FLESH, and lust of the flesh is, according to the BIBLE, sin! I stopped smoking immediately. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong. 1973)

(Those interested in learning more about Herbert W. Armstrong, should read the article Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?)

Notice some of what the Bible teaches:

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

37…”‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Consider that smoking does not glorify God in your body–it harms your body. Consider that smoking also does not show love towards one’s neighbor–it harms your neighbor. Smoking is normally a sin, though for the mentally ill it is more of a crutch. Of course, smoking is not the Unpardonable Sin and can be stopped.

Smoking is wrong and it kills people. God wants people to change/repent (Acts 17:30)–which means that, despite its difficulties it can be done (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13).  But, if cigarettes are available, it is more difficult for the mentally ill.

Several articles of possibly related interest include:

Is Smoking a Sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change?
Why So Much Mental Illness? Article by E.M. Walter goes into several of the causes of this.
ADHD diagnoses increasing Is diet a possible contributing factor in the increasing number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder?
Air Pollution More Than Doubles Autism Risk There is an increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism. Is environmental pollution a factor?
The Seven Laws of Success Booklet by Herbert W. Armstrong that can help people become successful.
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains how he is and should be viewed today.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it?

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